To much of the public back home, Australia have been out of sight, out of mind on this trip. But in an empty stadium in the Middle East, Michael Clarke's men have been outbatted, outbowled and outfielded. They have been outspun, outswung and outdone. Not only were they twice all out in Dubai, they seemed out of ideas.

Of course, it is nothing out of the ordinary. In the post-Shane Warne era, Australia have played 14 Tests in Asia for one victory. That came against Sri Lanka in Galle in 2011, when Australia had the good fortune to bat first on a pitch later rated "poor" by the ICC. In Dubai, the toss played some role in the result but mostly this was about Pakistan's superiority in slow conditions.

It is impossible to lay the blame solely with Australia's batting or bowling. Surviving into the last session of day five cannot disguise that this was an all-round thrashing. Australia's bowlers created too few chances, their batsmen too many. When opportunities did come in the field, they were not always taken; Chris Rogers and Alex Doolan both dropped chances in the first innings.

One of the most fascinating passages in Kevin Pietersen's recent autobiography relates not to which team-mates he dislikes or how badly he was treated, but to advice given to him by Rahul Dravid on how to play spin. It is worth seeking out the book just to read the email Dravid sent. Australia's batsmen should certainly read it.

Dravid advises soft hands, be prepared to come forward but do not overcommit, let the ball come to you, recognise there are scoring opportunities off the back foot too. He suggests a novel training method, telling Pietersen he should face Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar in the nets while not wearing pads.

"When you have no pads it will force you, sometimes painfully, to get the bat forward of the pads and will force you to watch the ball," Dravid writes. "Also the leg will be less keen to push out without any protection. My coach would tell me you should never need pads to play spin!!"

Perhaps some of the Australian batsmen could benefit from an unpadded net session against Nathan Lyon and Steve O'Keefe. Or they could just go back and watch the footage of Pakistan's batsmen from this Test; they watched the ball intently and either got to the pitch or played back with soft hands. Often, they swept.

Australian batsmen typically do not possess such finesse. Clarke does, but here he was rusty. The first four wickets in Australia's second innings fell to spin with no bat involved, save for Clarke's inside-edged lbw. Too many played for turn that did not come. Others like Clarke in the first innings and Mitchell Marsh in the second committed forward with hard hands and were caught in close.

For Doolan especially, this was a match to forget. He entered it still trying to establish himself at No.3; he will be lucky to hold his place for the second Test in Abu Dhabi. To call his work against spin awkward would be a compliment. In the first innings his only runs off 17 balls of spin came with an edge past slip off Zulfiqar Babar, and he was run out for 5 attempting a desperate single.

In the second innings, he did everything wrong, stepping back deep in his crease to play across the line to Babar, whose modus operandi was to skid the ball on to the stumps. He did this from his fifth ball, before he had scored. It was not just a low percentage shot, it was almost a no percentage shot. Doolan was lbw. He would not try that stroke if he batted in the nets without pads.

But if Babar is the elephant in Doolan's room, the batsman is far from alone. His potential replacement is Phillip Hughes, who looked equally inept against spin in India last year. Like most Australian batsmen, Doolan should be far more comfortable on the quicker pitches back home against India this summer. The question is whether he'll survive that long.

The defeat was not just down to poor batting, though. The old cricket cliché states that you have to get 20 wickets to win a Test. You don't, of course, if the opposition declares. But neither do you have much chance if you manage only 11 breakthroughs, as Australia did in Dubai. Never before have they taken less than 15 wickets and won a Test.

One of the most fascinating passages in Kevin Pietersen's recent autobiography relates not to which team-mates he dislikes or how badly he was treated, but to advice given to him by Rahul Dravid on how to play spin. It is worth seeking out the book just to read the email Dravid sent

They sent down 223 overs in this match, the seventh time since the days of timeless Tests that they had bowled so many balls in a Test for so few wickets. All the others ended in draws. That this was the first such loss is an indication that in this match the teams were separated by a gulf as big as the Arabian.

As worrying as the dearth of wickets was the lack of chances and of genuine appeals. Pakistan batted for 78 overs in their second innings with only two real lbw shouts; one resulted in a desperate review that showed Peter Siddle had struck Younis Khan outside the line of off stump, and the other was successful when Ahmed Shehzad tried to reverse sweep O'Keefe.

O'Keefe on debut picked up four wickets and improved as the game wore on, finding a little more flight and turn. Lyon occasionally threatened out of the rough, but generally Pakistan's 11 right-handers were able to defend their stumps and work him for runs with ease. It is hard to see either man being dropped for Abu Dhabi, where the conditions may be more spin-friendly.

Mitchell Johnson was dangerous at speed but Australia must be careful not to overwork him in the heat. Siddle was miserly in the first innings but managed only one wicket for the match, and found little of the reverse swing that Pakistan's bowlers discovered. Siddle's place might be in danger, but would Ben Hilfenhaus or Mitchell Starc really fare any better?

Australia missed Shane Watson's reverse swing in these conditions. His all-round replacement, Marsh, had little impact with the ball and showed weaknesses against spin with the bat; he was out in both innings lunging a long way forward with either hard hands or without getting bat to ball.

Would Glenn Maxwell offer more with the bat in the No.6 position, as well as another bowling option? It would be a risky move, given Pakistan's proven proficiency against spin. Could Watson jump on a plane after scoring 83 in the Matador Cup final? Probably not, for he has not bowled since returning from his ankle and calf injuries.

Whatever the case, something has to change for the second Test, in approach if not personnel. Otherwise Australia will lose a series to Pakistan for the first time in 20 years.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale