A week after rejoicing in saving a test match they had never been in before, the Australians of Tim Paine were crushed by the fact that they had been lost sight of in a game that, at lunch of the first day, it was his.
Through the explosion of four windows of Nathan Lyon in six balls, Pakistan had been 5 for 57 in Abu Dhabi, his difficult situation summed up by coach Mickey Arthur holding his head in his hands. However, somehow, captain Sarfraz Ahmed and debutant Fakhar Zaman freed themselves to help the hosts to a defensible 282, and Australia collapsed complacently in both innings.
It meant that two of Australia's four biggest losses had taken place in their last three Tests, with Paine at the head of both. Although this team had made many advances since the humiliation of Johannesburg after the scandal of manipulating the ball, the feeling of a lost opportunity weighed on Paine's thoughts. Clearly, a day of lunch has already gone through the mind many times.
"Without a doubt, it's a bitter disappointment," he said. "We had some momentum from the first test, we started very well here and then from 5 to 57 it was a bit pear-shaped to be honest, in the whole field It's hard to swallow, I'd love to come back to that at the time of lunch and go back out and start again, but we were not able to do it, we could not sustain it long enough.
"It's disappointing. We came here to win this series and we did well in the first Test and we showed at least some of the fight and the style and the cricket brand that we wanted to play in the second innings and then go out and do that Test, it's like we gave a step forward and then two steps back. So it's really frustrating. "
Adding to Paine's sense of irritation was the fact that Australia's low batting quality, particularly in the early turns of both tests, reflected a broader pattern, not just for the But the Sheffield Shield hundreds have been decreasing their offer for a while, which is no surprise that in their last six Tests, the Australians have averaged 236 in their first innings, with a total of more 100 points below average to win Test matches, teams throughout the history of the long form.
"There is no doubt that this has been happening for too long for the Australian cricket team, not only Our test team, but also nationally, there are many collapses in our batting group. "Paine said:" A lot of this can be technical, some types will be mental and others will be tacit. or their plans will not be right for certain bowlers. " We should not shy away from the fact that we have a lot of work to do with our batting, and that's not just this team, it's all over the country.
"Guys who are testing our defense long enough. Whether it's a spin or a medium pace or fast bowlers are getting rewards, and I think teams around the world are probably recognizing that and they know if they can continue with us, continue with us, continue with us, these collapses are happening.  "When you give a little smell to that, they are always in the game and always feel that they are not far away. So the great Australian teams of the past have been completely opposed to that, it is difficult to get the players out, then the next player comes in and starts again. We know that as a batting team and as a team we are definitely a long way from the finished product, and we have a lot of work to do. "
He was asked to identify where an improvement should be found before the series of home tests against the India, Paine scored again in Australia's batting. "We still have these collapses and we're still talking about that," he said. "I thought the fight we showed in the second innings of the first test was exceptional and I thought the guys applied very well and in fact they showed themselves and people all over the world that when we play the best we can, we are ready for it. But right now there is a really big gap between the best and the worst, and we need to be more consistent
"I do not know what the statistics are but they do not lie, it would be interesting to have a look in. Certainly, within our test team we are not scoring the 100 that the test teams should be scoring, and the previous Australian teams have been scoring. It's something the guys are working so hard on, and we're seeing little glimpses sometimes, but it's just being able to repeat that and hit for a long time, and put the bowling attacks back under pressure, and we could not do it
"Some guys will have different problems for other types, but it's about finding what works for you and being able to be mentally strong to meet it when we are under pressure in the test cricket. All of us who play in this test team we know are very good players when they play well, we just have to be able to take it to the test arena when players like Yasir [Shah] and Mohammad [Abbas] are coming to us and have faith in their plans. If you overcome them for an hour or more and then get tired, you will get bad balls. At this time we have not been able to overcome these difficult periods. "
For Paine and the rest of the team on the tour, some harder periods remain ahead of the next test in Adelaide in December, the Twenty20 team remains in the Emirates United Arab Emirates., The not-yet-announced ODI squad is warming up for a series against South Africa, and the rest have numerous rounds of the Sheffield Shield before coming back together, provided they are selected.
"Clearly, it would be a very exciting to be a batsman around the cricket shield right now, if you're scoring hundreds, "said Paine." There is no doubt about it. There are opportunities for everyone and the batting group that is here is also part of that. "