The final numbers are in.
England quicks: 339.1-103-762-31
England spinners: 295.1-23-1202-20

The bowlers finally completed their work for this series in the final session of the fourth day. James Anderson and Stuart Broad tried all they could, but the support just wasn't there.

Anderson, weary after his herculean efforts, was frank in his assessment of the challenge facing England's spinners ahead of next year's series in India and Bangladesh.

"In international cricket, you have to learn fast; if you don't, you don't stick around in it. So they're going to have to if they're going to improve and help us win next winter," he said. "They're bowling at batsmen who have grown up playing against spin. I'd say some of their guys are experts at it. They're going to take a lot from it."

There was an over from Samit Patel which encapsulated where English spin bowling currently sits. Here's how ESPNcricinfo's ball-by-ball commentary recorded it:

104.1 Patel to Sarfraz Ahmed, FOUR, a low full toss, swept, with a slight top-edge, but safely through fine leg to bring up a vital 50-run stand

104.2 Patel to Sarfraz Ahmed, no run, forward and blocked

104.3 Patel to Sarfraz Ahmed, FOUR, swept majestically, that went like a tracer bullet, as Ravi Shastri would doubtless say

104.4 Patel to Sarfraz Ahmed, no run, forward and blocked

104.5 Patel to Sarfraz Ahmed, OUT, bowled him! Samit lands one on the money, tweaks past the edge and smashes middle and off!

104.6 Patel to Yasir Shah, FOUR, low full toss, and pumped for a straight four! That's not the way to greet the tailenders!

Two full tosses, two blocks, another boundary and a beauty to bring a wicket. England's spinners have bowled some good deliveries in this series, and on the fourth day here Adil Rashid produced some hard-spun leg-breaks and googlies, one of which brought a missed stumping in the first over of the day, but there has been too much dross in between. Not every good ball will take a wicket, but most of the bad ones have been dispatched.

England's spin struggles have not just begun in this series - this situation has been building since Graeme Swann retired and Monty Panesar's career hit crisis - but to provide some context, the 1992-93 tour of India is often considered a nadir for England in Asia. Still, the spinners used in that series - John Emburey, Phil Tufnell, Ian Salisbury and Graeme Hick - fared better collectively than the three here, taking 17 wickets at 50 with an economy rate of 3.16.

This series is the first time a group of England spinners have conceded more than four-an-over, while the average of 60.01 (a notch higher than most records will show due to Ben Stokes' over of offspin in Abu Dhabi) places it third worst. Above it are the 2003-04 series in Bangladesh, where England's quicks were able to do most of the damage and the limited resources of Gareth Batty and Ashley Giles were not punished, and the 2005-06 series in Pakistan.

It is that tour, a decade ago, which provides a neat bookend for 10 years of English cricket alongside this one, a period within which they have had a period where Swann and Panesar gave them as rich a spin resources as they had had for 30 years.

Panesar made his debut on the tour that followed the 2005-06 series in Pakistan, when England visited India, and he formed a motley crew in Nagpur alongside Shaun Udal and Ian Blackwell. Udal had made a surprise debut in Pakistan, partnering Giles in the first Test, before becoming the lone spinner by the end as Giles flew home injured.

Through Panesar, and then Swann when he finally made his debut in late 2008, England emerged from a period where they had used spin firmly as the second-string to an attack which, like now, had a strong hand of pace bowlers. Duncan Fletcher had demanded that a spinner could bat - because he could not see a matchwinner in county cricket - but also that he could contain. Giles ticked both boxes and did superbly as England built towards the 2005 Ashes success.

Fletcher never quite bought into Panesar - preferring a half-fit Giles at the start of the 2006-07 Ashes despite Panesar's success the previous summer - but that was Fletcher's last Test series. Peter Moores, on his first overseas assignment, to India in 2008, handed Swann his debut in Chennai. Two wickets came in his first over. The rest is history.

For five years, Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook (for the record, Kevin Pietersen captained Swann in his first two Tests) knew they had a world-class spinner who could attack and defend. England could field a four-man attack that was effectively five. Did the vast workload shorten Swann's career? Probably, but while he was on the park the results were emphatic with three Ashes victories and the win in India in 2012-13 when he and Panesar dovetailed wonderfully.

Since Swann's shoulder finally gave in on the 2013-14 Ashes, which coincided with Panesar's problems emerging, life has become much harder. Better spin did not always mean victories, as the 2012 series in UAE showed, but the decline England are suffering is currently stark.

Now it has to be decided what the role of the spinner is in the England side, especially in Asia. The notion to be attack-minded is well intentioned, but this series has been crying out for a holding spinner and, unless significant improvement takes place over the next 12 months, the same will be the case in Bangladesh and India this time next year.

It was the right time to play Rashid, and he should not be completely discarded, and Moeen Ali will continue to develop but with the over-riding strength being in the pace attack, this series has shown that a different type of support is also necessary in these conditions. If a holding spinner helps to offer the control that bring Test victories, why should it be viewed as negative?

The methodology in 2000-01 in India did not bring victory, and perhaps Nasser Hussain took it a step too far against Sachin Tendulkar when Giles hung it outside leg stump for over after over, but at the time it was a means to an end given the resources available.

You probably would not see England go to those lengths now. It is not in Trevor Bayliss' outlook or, increasingly, Cook's but surely coach and captain would be grateful for some economy. There is no way of knowing if, for example, James Tredwell or Gareth Batty would have done any better out here (or how well Zafar Ansari may have gone) but those two are at least spinners who can land six deliveries in roughly the same place.

At 38, Batty's time has probably passed him by, but Tredwell should not be forgotten for next winter. He is not a long-term, or exciting, solution but could be better value than conceding runs by the bucketload and help buy a little time to try and begin the revolution that has to take place in English cricket to nurture a new generation of spin bowler.

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo