The England coach praises Pakistan but says his side will fight to avoid a whitewash.
Andy Flower vows England are 'not going to just lie down and give up'
ABU DHABI // Andy Flower's England will fight to the last in the Middle East, and beyond, even if they are playing only for pride and damage limitation in the first instance next week.
Their collapse to 72 all out, a record Test low against Pakistan, at the Zayed Stadium means England are not only in danger of a 3-0 series whitewash in Dubai but could also therefore lose their number one status by the time they next return to five-day cricket.
Flower will not sanction that sort of talk as he tries to ensure his charges confront the frailties so evident in the 72-run second-Test defeat on Saturday.
Time is short for the likes of Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen and Eoin Morgan to work out - before the start of the last Test on Friday - how to play Asian spin effectively in these alien conditions.
But Flower is sure of one thing: that no one in his squad will fail for the want of trying.
"We're very proud of representing our country," he said.
"We take our job very seriously and we all feel responsible for this result.
"It's also our job to get it right."
The solution, especially with a packed schedule of tough subcontinental engagements in the offing for much of the next 12 months, is to dig in and come back for more.
"We aren't going to just lie down and give up. That is one option, and it is not an option we are going to take.
"We're going to fight as hard as possible.
"We're going to fight to learn as quickly as possible, and we expect to go into the third Test and get ourselves into a winning position again."
England have scaled the heights of Test cricket under the guidance of Flower and captain Andrew Strauss; yet they, like so many of their compatriots before them, have been conspicuously slow learners when it comes to cracking Asian conditions.
There was nothing new, apart from an extra shade of embarrassment in the manner of the latest collapse, in England's defeat in Abu Dhabi.
"It was a wake-up call no one wanted to get - not to that degree," said Flower.
"We realise that we haven't been very skilful in dealing with that type of cricket."
Even so, after England had failed to deal this time with the left-arm spin of Abdur Rehman rather than the off-spin of Saeed Ajmal - as was the case in the first-Test defeat in Dubai - Flower made a point of congratulating the opposition.
"It's also right to praise the Pakistan team for what they have done," he said.
"They beaten us fair and square. They have beaten us properly in two matches.
"They have fought hard and worked hard at their game, and in a way I'm very happy for them.
"It's good for their cricket and it's good for their country."