HASEEB HAMEED and Joe Root’s admirable resistance proved too little too late as England lost the third Test by eight wickets inside four days to concede an unassailable 2-0 series lead to India.
Root’s exemplary 78 preceded the equally skilful defiance of Hameed (59no), who made no compromise to a left little finger injury that will prevent him completing the tour.
Hameed ground out a mere 17 from his first 110 balls yet then passed his half-century with a slog-swept six after only another 37.
Afterwards England captain Alastair Cook revealed that Hameed would be returning home for an operation to have a plate inserted in his injured hand.
England could only delay the inevitable in Mohali, scrambling 236 all out to set India a target of 103 - which they achieved in 20.2 overs to wrap up victory in mid-evening, 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 - failing this time to post a par total or better after Alastair Cook won an important toss on a fair pitch.
England were too far off the pace, despite their hosts’ own brief wobble on day two, and Test matches in this part of the world are very rarely won from behind.
No one had told Root or Hameed that, however, as they produced innings which may sow hope that England can somehow battle back in pursuit of an unlikely 2-2 drawn series - or conversely, just point to what might have been here.
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 Virat Kohli after Cheteshwar Pujara had mis-swept Rashid to end a stand of 81.
The tourists had resumed on 78-4, still 56 behind, and obviously running short of resources already.
Root’s departure just before lunch, to a memorable one-handed catch by Ajinkya Rahane away to his left at slip from an edged drive at Ravindra Jadeja, signalled the beginning of the end - despite Hameed’s ongoing refusal to buckle.
England lost their nightwatchman 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 straight into the hands of deep midwicket.
Hameed, unable to open the previous evening because of the injury he first suffered in last week’s second Test before being hit again in the first innings here, came in at number eight to join Root.
The Roses alliance appeared to represent England’s last realistic chance of a great escape, and Root completed a determined and flawless 147-ball half-century when he clipped Jadeja past midwicket for just his third boundary.
Hameed, showing no obvious signs of pain despite having had an X-ray the previous evening, was soon predictably tested by the short ball as Kohli summoned Shami.
The teenage Lancastrian passed that test, however - and having got off the mark with a pushed single from the 19th ball he faced, he survived one scare on six when his thick edge to only the second ball bowled by Ravi Ashwin clattered in and out of Parthiv’s gloves.
It would have been a very good catch, from a hefty deflection, and India knew far easier opportunities would surely be in store.
So it proved once Shami had the new ball in his hands again, breaking an eighth-wicket stand of 43 when - straight after hitting Woakes on the helmet with a bouncer which dislodged the stemguard - he went short again and induced a mis-hook which looped to the wicketkeeper.
In the same over, Rashid came and went for a duck - hooking this time to long-leg - and the spirited 10th-wicket stand eventually ended when Anderson was run out by a whisker trying to sprint a second run for his partner into the leg-side deep.
England’s defeat was confirmed within two hours - leaving them to contemplate during the short break before next week’s fourth Test in Mumbai how they might yet somehow be able to push India harder then.
:: India have announced that all-rounder Hardik Pandya will be out for a minimum six weeks with a hairline fracture of his bowling shoulder, and may therefore miss the limited-overs series against England after Christmas.