England must come to terms with India’s unassailable 2-0 series lead after their defeat in Mohali and the loss for the rest of the campaign of a young player who appears born to be a Test opener.
Captain Alastair Cook and coach Trevor Bayliss had little to smile about after India knocked off a paltry target of 103 to win by eight wickets inside four days – and Haseeb Hameed’s impending flight home to have a plate inserted in his badly-broken left little finger was a further blow.
Cook could only rue the tourists’ failure to take advantage of winning an important toss, making only 283 at their first attempt.
“There was no hiding behind it – we just weren’t good enough to get that 400,” said Cook. “You just have to hold your hands up. There were no magic balls being bowled... it wasn’t unplayable.
“There’s nothing worse than when you know you can play better and you’re not quite doing it.
“It’s not ideal when you lose your opener to a bust hand, and everyone has to move up. But that’s the second innings – we were behind the game in the first innings.”
Virat Kohli, meanwhile, made his admiration of Hameed clear – congratulating him on the field, and praising him off it.
The India captain said: “He’s shown great character for a 19-year-old at this level. You can sense it as a captain, ‘this guy is intelligent, this guy knows the game’.
“I think he’s a great prospect for England and he’s definitely going to be a future star in all forms if he keeps persisting with his skill. I was really impressed, and that’s why I patted him on the back. It was an innings full of character.”
Hameed, who did not enter until No 8, and Joe Root’s admirable resistance proved too little, too late.
Root’s exemplary 78 preceded the equally skilful defiance of Hameed, who finished unbeaten on 59 after grinding out 17 from his first 110 balls before passing his half-century with a slog-swept six after just another 37.
England could only delay the inevitable in Mohali, however, scrambling 236 all out to set India a target of 103 – which they achieved in 20.2 overs to wrap up victory thanks to a 39-ball 50 from Parthiv Patel (67no).
As in England’s previous defeat in Vizag, this was a case of the telling damage being done in the first innings.
Hameed took his cue to up the ante after Mohammad Shami bounced out Chris Woakes and Adil Rashid with the second new ball, leaving him with only James Anderson for company as the last-wicket stand scrambled another 41 runs.
Woakes then had Murali Vijay gloving a simple catch to second slip before tea.
But England had nowhere near enough runs to cause any serious consternation for India as Patel helped to complete the formalities alongside his captain after Cheteshwar Pujara had mis-swept Rashid to end a stand of 81.
The tourists had resumed on 78-4, still 56 behind, and running short of resources already.
Root’s departure just before lunch, to a memorable one-handed catch by Ajinkya Rahane at slip from an edged drive at Ravindra Jadeja, signalled the beginning of the end despite Hameed’s refusal to buckle.
England had lost Gareth Batty to his second ball of the day, pushing forward and missing an arm ball from Jadeja to be lbw for a duck – and then Jos Buttler’s brief counter-attack ended when he went up the pitch to Jayant Yadav but dragged his big hit into the hands of deep midwicket.
India’s Hardik Pandya will be out for a minimum six weeks with a hairline fracture of his bowling shoulder.