MUMBAI England no longer have the world class spin options available to them that they enjoyed when they stunned India in 2012, captain Alastair Cook said after his side fell 3-0 behind the hosts in the five-match series on Monday.
England are the last team to win a series in India when they beat the hosts 2-1 four years ago with spinners Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar revelling in the conditions, and ably supported by prolific wicket-taking paceman James Anderson.
During that series, Panesar took 11 wickets at the Wankhede Stadium while Swann picked up eight more to help England thrash India by 10 wickets.
However, leg-spinner Adil Rashid, who is England's highest wicket-taker in the ongoing series with 22 victims, and off-spinner Moeen Ali have failed to match those performances.
"No disrespect to Mo and Rash but Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar were world class bowlers in 2012," Cook told reporters after England's defeat by an innings and 36 runs. "In these conditions you need that.
"Mo and Rash have bowled well but they are not yet in that league... I do not mean that disrespectfully at all and that is why we need a slightly different balance to the side.
"In 2012, we could play the four bowlers, two seamers and two spinners, but in this side we need more options."
Cook admitted England had erred by picking an extra seamer in Jake Ball while overlooking Gareth Batty as the pitch had nothing in it for the quicker bowlers.
"Here we knew it was going to spin," Cook said. "But one thing we have strength in depth in is our seamers and we can get control with our seamers if it is not spinning a huge amount.
"Generally here in Mumbai it spins slightly later on in the game but it spun pretty much from ball one and last time in 2012 it didn't and the pitch looked exactly the same."
Cook was also left to rue England's failure to take the chances that came their way.
Jonny Bairstow missed a stumping opportunity of Murali Vijay on 45, while Rashid dropped a difficult return catch from India captain Virat Kohli on 68 and Joe Root also put down Jayant Yadav at slip on eight.
Vijay scored 136, Kohli went on to make 235 and Yadav 104.
"We missed three good chances to take wickets and they made us pay," Cook said. "Missing Kohli, missing Vijay and Yadav cost us dearly.
"It is just frustrating. To beat India in these conditions you have to play the perfect game and we haven't managed to do that."
(Editing by John O'Brien)