England coach Andy Flower admitted that the world number one side had fallen shockingly short of their high standards in the 10-wicket defeat to Pakistan.
The tourists were bowled out twice for under 200 by the designated hosts at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium to lose inside three days, leaving them with a tough job on their hands to turn the three-match series around, starting with next week's second Test in Abu Dhabi.
"Pakistan certainly outplayed us by a long margin in this Test. We under-performed, poorly," he said today.
"However, we can come back from this. Is it a real test? Yes it will be.
"There's a day off today, training tomorrow then down to Abu Dhabi to prepare."
As Flower came to terms with his batsmen's collective inability to deal first with Saeed Ajmal's off-spin and then Umar Gul's pace, he was consoled by England's previous reactions to adversity.
In his first Test in charge in Jamaica, they were bowled out for 51 in their second innings to lose by an innings - yet within six months were Ashes winners.
In that same summer, of 2009, England lost inside three days to Australia at Headingley but clinched the urn in the next match at The Oval - and just over a year ago, they were trounced in Perth but again hit back for historic wins in Melbourne and Sydney.
Asked whether his team face their toughest challenge yet here, against fast-improving Pakistan, he said: "I'm not sure it's a bigger test.
"Beating Australia in Australia was a big test."
Flower warns nonetheless that, although England can draw confidence from their own track record, they will not dwell on former glories.
"This team has done great things in the recent past, but you have to move on from the past and live in the present - and this is a very good indication that you have to live in the present," he said.
:: Ajmal's match figures of 10 for 97 have taken him up from 12th to third in the International Cricket Council's Test rankings, deposing England's Graeme Swann - a fellow off-spinner - as the world's best slow bowler.