A bitterly disappointed Tim Paine says Australia went backwards in a humbling Test series capitulation to Pakistan in the UAE.
Australia's first Test series under the leadership of Paine and coach Justin Langer ended in crushing defeat as Pakistan seamer Mohammad Abbas ripped through the tourists in Abu Dhabi to clinch a 373-run victory in the second Test.
Chasing 538 to win, the tourists resumed at 1-47 on Friday with hopes of at least putting up a fight after showing tremendous mettle to secure a draw in Dubai.
But on a day that began with news in-form batsman Usman Khawaja had torn the meniscus in his left knee, the Australians looked drained and down for the count before being bowled out for just 164 to hand Pakistan a 1-0 series win.
The tourists were left to regret a woeful 26-ball collapse in which Travis Head, Mitch Marsh, Aaron Finch and Paine all fell to man of the series Abbas for the addition of just seven runs.
Similar flops of 10-60 and 0-3 in Dubai, along with countless others throughout Asia and other parts of the world in recent years, have left Paine in no doubt that batting collapses have become endemic in Australian cricket.
"There's no doubt this has been happening for too long for the Australian cricket team, not just our Test team but probably domestically," Paine said.
"There's a lot of collapses throughout our batting group and I think a lot of it can be technical.
"Some guys will be mental and other guys will be tactical or your plans not being right for certain bowlers. There's no shying away from the fact we have a hell of a lot to do on our batting and it's this team and it's through the whole country."
Questions will linger about how Australia managed to end up so far behind the game in Abu Dhabi after an inspired Nathan Lyon spell left Pakistan reeling at 5-57 in the first innings.
Australia's bowlers failed to press their advantage after Lyon's brilliance, and the 145 put on in reply was their fourth-lowest first innings total in Asia.
"It's bitterly disappointing, no doubt," Paine said.
"We had some momentum from the first Test, started really well here and then from 5-57 it went a bit pear-shaped to be honest all over the field.
"To come out and do that this Test is like taking one step forward and two steps back. It's really frustrating."
Paine said he was yet to discuss with national selectors whether he would retain the ODI captaincy when Australia host South Africa next month.
The Tasmanian struggled during Australia's 5-0 whitewash in England and appears no certainty to lead next year's World Cup defence.