Haseeb Hameed’s gutsy half-century was not enough to prevent England from slipping to an eight-wicket defeat in the third Test against India that leaves them 2-0 down in this series with just two matches to play.
The teenage opener defied a suspected broken finger to post a brilliant 59 that at least allowed England to go down fighting here in Mohali and claw back some semblance of self-respect from an otherwise poor performance.
Alastair Cook’s team now appear destined for defeat in this series. The only way that can be prevented will be if they win the final two Tests in Mumbai and Chennai.
They will have to attempt that without Hameed, though, who despite his defiant innings on this fourth day will miss the rest of the series with the injury sustained by the blow to his left hand he received on the first morning of this match.
Hameed will now fly back to the UK to have a metal plate inserted into his hand.
That news makes the youngster’s innings here even more remarkable, Hameed fighting through the pain to ensure England made 236 in their second-innings.
That was some achievement given they were 107 for six by the time Hameed came out at No 8.
No other England batsman has faced more balls than Hameed in this series, his tally standing at 640. He saw out 156 today, more than the combined total of every batsman that came in before him in his side’s second innings bar Joe Root.
Partnerships of 45 with Root, 43 with Chris Woakes and 41 with James Anderson at least made sure India would have to bat again.
But given a target of just 103 for victory, it was no surprise India knocked off the runs required in just 20.2 overs, Parthiv Patel’s unbeaten 67 sealing a convincing win.
Other than Hameed, only Root, who scored 78, did anything to warrant praise during a batting display that the tourists will be keen to forget.
England had started the day on 78 for four following the collapse that had seen them lose Cook, Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes the previous evening.
And the tourists were staring at complete humiliation when Hameed came to the crease 34 minutes into the day following the early losses of Gareth Batty and Jos Buttler.
Batty was trapped lbw by Ravindra Jadeja to the seventh ball of the day. The Surrey off-spinner made a seven-ball duck after coming in as a nightwatchman the previous evening.
Buttler then made a run-a-ball 18 before holing out to Jayant Yadav, a dismissal that triggered Hameed’s entrance.
His first job was to support Root, who filling in as an opener for Hameed made his slowest Test half-century – in 147 balls – since his debut innings against India at Nagpur four years ago.
By the time Root was caught at slip off Jadeja England’s lead stood at 18.
Hameed and Woakes then extended that advantage to 61 before the Warwickshire all-rounder was undone by the second new ball.
In one brilliant over from Mohammed Shami, both Woakes, who fended the fast bowler behind one delivery after his stem guard was dislodged after he was hit on the helmet, and Adil Rashid, hooking another bouncer to fine leg, departed.
England, now 195 for nine, were in complete disarray. Yet at least Anderson kept Hameed company long enough to allow him to reach his half-century.
Hameed had taken 111 balls to score his first boundary. So the sight of him smashing Ashwin for six to bring up his fifty was as surprising as it was brilliant.
The fun was over, though, 40 minutes before tea when Anderson was caught out of his ground after Hameed called for a single.
A sign of India’s respect for what Hameed had done was shown by the fact India captain Virat Kohli, Vijay and Ajinkya Rahane made a point of shaking his hand as the teams walked off.
England at least made a good start when India began their chase, the early wicket of Murali Vijay, out for an eight-ball duck after edging Woakes to slip, reducing their opponents to seven for one.
However, an 81-run stand between Cheteshewar Pujara and Parthiv took India to within sight of their target.
Pujara, chipping Rashid to short fine leg, fell for 25. His dismissal, though, brought Kohli to the crease, although it was Parthiv, creaming Batty through the covers for four, who sealed victory.Reuse content