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Joe Root believes England can again prove their doubters wrong - as long as they learn "harsh lessons" at the start of their United Arab Emirates tour.
No visiting side has yet beaten Pakistan in a Test series since their relocation to the desert five years ago, including England who lost 3-0 on their only previous trip.
But vice-captain Root is confident that a team, who confounded those predicting Ashes defeat last summer, can do so again over the next month here.
The campaign proper will start in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, following two warm-up matches against Pakistan A in Sharjah - where, Root admits, there were warning signs to be heeded and acted upon.
In the second two-day fixture, England recovered from the early departures of both openers Moeen Ali and Alex Hales - captain Alastair Cook sat out the contest - only to then lose four wickets for nine runs, after Ian Bell and James Taylor retired at lunch.
Root, another taking a rest after making a half-century in the first match, said: "We've definitely learned a lot from these two encounters with a strong Pakistan A side.
"There's some harsh lessons that'll have to be learned, and they'll stand us in good stead for that first (Test) match.
"You look where the game was at just before lunch, and we retired two blokes.
"Then it just shows how hard it can be starting an innings on these surfaces, in these conditions.
"That obviously made a big impact for the rest of the day."
England must ensure such collapses do not recur against Pakistan, as they did when they were last here in early 2012.
"They're the sort of things, if we do lose a couple of wickets quickly, that can happen," added Root.
"We're going to have to be a little bit sharper when it comes to the Test matches.
"We've proved over the last six months we can do things that people don't think we can.
"We're definitely confident within the dressing room. We've done all the work in preparation for this series, and I think we're in a good place."
Root acknowledges a tough mission, to succeed where all others have so far failed, but a challenge too he insists is within England's capabilities.
"We're very realistic," he said.
"We know it's going to be really tough ... and we're going to have to play extremely well to beat them.
"But we're definitely capable of doing that if we play at our best."