Abu Dhabi:Pakistan coach Intikhab Alam said on Monday he believed his team missed a golden chance to win their one-day series against Australia, but that the lessons they learnt would nevertheless help.
"Australia never dominated us, really, and we should have won the series 3-2 rather than the other way round," said Alam, after his team won the fifth match Sunday by seven wickets.
"Losing the third match was the turning point," the coach said.
Pakistan won the hard-fought first match by four wickets before Australia came back strongly to take the second by six.
Pakistan, chasing a modest 199 in the third match, were cruising along at 95-0 before being bowled out for 171 to lose by 27 runs.
"It was a nightmare. I never thought that we will lose that one and it will remain in my mind for a long, long time," said Alam. "Had we won that match we would have won 4-1."
In the fourth match Friday, Pakistan missed an opportunity to square the series. Instead, Australia won by eight wickets, to claim an unassailable, 3-1 series.
Pakistan's batting came good in the fifth match as they reached a challenging 251-run target, with Kamran Akmal's unbeaten 116 and Misbah-ul-Haq's 76 not out anchoring the win.
For Australia, Shane Watson capped his comeback to international cricket with a brilliant 116 not out.
Alam said his players had learnt valuable lessons in the series.
"We were playing for pride and desperately wanted to win this last match," he said.
"We had to win this game, there was no doubt about that, and I think this win will go long way in making this team a stronger unit."
Alam, a former leg-spinner, believed Australia handled Pakistani spinners well after the first match, in which leg-spinner Shahid Afridi took a career best 6-38.
"They are a professional side and studied the footage of our spinners after the first match," said Alam. "Thereafter, they played our spinners well."
Skipper Younus Khan also believed his team will learn from Australia.
"They (Australia) taught us how to play under pressure, in tense situations, how to stage a comeback after losing the first match, so we got our lessons and hopefully these will help us in future," said Younus.
Australian captain Michael Clarke, who scored a brilliant 66 and took 3-15 in the decisive third match, said losing the final match was disappointing.
"It does take some gloss off our series win," said Clarke, who scored an unbeaten 100 in the fourth match.
"We wanted to win this one too and with 250 on the board we had enough, but we didn't execute well enough with the ball and let ourselves down with the fielding," said Clarke.
"Throughout the series our fielding probably stands out (as needing) improvement so we are certainly focused on it and training hard."
Clarke -- who was to return home Monday for a rest -- said there were a lot of positives in the series win.
"Lots of guys were given opportunity and they grabbed that with both hands," said Clarke of the youngsters who played in the absence of regular captain Ricky Ponting, Michael Hussey and Mitchell Johnson.
"Callum (Ferguson) really put his hand up in all the games he played, Dougie (Bollinger) got five-for the other day, so the win is a compliment to the way cricket is played in Australia, (and a) compliment to the selectors."
Pakistan and Australia now move to Dubai, for Thursday's only Twenty20 match of the limited-overs series.