London:British media on Tuesday said a timid England team has let go a rare opportunity to win a series against India in the sub-continent.
"If there was one lesson to draw from this two-Test series, it is that chances to win do not come along very often on the sub-continent and when you get one you have to be sure to take it," a write-up in the leading British daily 'The Guardian' said.
"In that sense, if the lessons from Madras are learnt, and if Kevin Pietersen can ram home the message to his more timid colleagues that the best Test teams constantly challenge the opposition rather than retreat into their shells when on top, then some good may come out of this defeat," it added.
The newspaper said the situation was bleak in the shorter version of the game as England lost 0-5 against India which was highlighted by the absence of batsmen like Yuvraj Singh or Virender Sehwag in English ranks.
"The 2009 English summer is not just about the Ashes, however. England also hosts the Twenty20 World Cup, and here the prognosis is more pessimistic.
"England's 50 defeat against India in the one-day series revealed their lack of power hitters in the mould of Yuvraj Singh, or of batsmen of untamed adventure in the form of Virender Sehwag.
"England began the ODI series with Ian Bell and Matt Prior: over-cautious and under-powered," it said.
According to the newspaper, the defeat could be an indication of a sub-standard Ashes against Australia, which also appears to be on decline.
"The Ashes series is only seven months away and both England and Australia are approaching it with a sense of foreboding.
"Neither side looks capable of achieving the standards set in 2005 when England regained the turn in an atmosphere of national celebration. Next summer's series will be won by the side that best disguises its shortcomings... exposed by India and South Africa," the newspaper noted.
The BBC felt that England needed to metamorphose quickly to challenge India's supremacy.
"England must be at the centre of this new world, exciting its own youthful cricketers with the rewards and challenges on offer. If they fail in this task then Indian supremacy could prove to be long-lasting."