5 things we learned from England's defeat to India in third Test


England fell 2-0 down in their five-Test series against India after losing the third match by eight wickets in Mohali.

We look at the latest lessons learned as England prepare to move on to Mumbai - via a short break in Dubai for much of the squad - for the fourth Test next week.

1. Haseeb Hameed is the future - on hold

Haseeb Hameed.
Haseeb Hameed (Rafiq Maqbool/AP)

Alastair Cook's latest opening partner is the real deal.

Hameed proved that emphatically with his bravery and adaptability in the second innings of only his third Test.

England will have to shore up the position again with Hameed on his way home for surgery on his badly-broken left hand, but his near three-hour, unbeaten 59 demonstrated all the qualities needed to make his role a long-term success.

The only caveat is that he plays low in defence, so may not have suffered his last finger injury, and he can expect to be tested on some quicker pitches.

All the evidence of Mohali suggests, though, that the resourceful Hameed will stay a step ahead.

2. Two spinners will (have to) do

Zafar Ansari.
Zafar Ansari (Aijaz Rahi/AP)

England have picked three spinners in all three Tests so far, and will remember that in Mumbai - venue for the next - Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann bowled them to victory with 19 of the 20 wickets on their last tour.

Surrey pair Zafar Ansari and Gareth Batty have been largely surplus to requirements, however, as understudies to Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid.

With the latter a revelation on this tour, Ansari and Batty's presence has arguably merely confused the issue. Batty mustered one run and no wickets in Mohali and, at 39, may have played his last Test.

As England try to somehow battle back for a drawn series, they can afford to pick an extra seamer or batsman, and let Moeen and Rashid get on with it.

3. Win from the front

Alastair Cook.
(Altaf Qadri/AP)

Alastair Cook maintained before the third Test that winning the toss was no guarantee of victory, and so it proved.

It was all too obvious to see where England had gone wrong, falling at least 100 short in their first innings and therefore digging a hole for themselves.

India had a wobble too, before taking a three-figure lead. Those statistics are hard to peg back anywhere in the world, but in the sub-continent, playing catch-up is even harder in stamina-sapping conditions on pitches which make second-innings reversals mighty rare.

4. India are formidable

 Ravi Ashwin.
(David Mariuz/AP)

This is not strictly new information, of course. India's track record on home soil was ominous before England arrived, with 12 wins in their last 13 matches spread over four years.

There is nothing like first-hand experience, though, and after extending that sequence to 17 unbeaten Tests in all since Cook's team won in Kolkata in 2012, England can see for themselves that India have proved the point.

It is hard to see their weaknesses and all too easy to spot the strengths of an outstanding middle-order powerhouse - even allowing for Ajinkya Rahane's loss of form - and two wonderful all-rounders in spin twins Ravi Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.

5. It won't get any easier

Joe Root, right, and Parthiv Patel.
Joe Root, right, and Parthiv Patel ( Altaf Qadri/AP)

Mohali was, on paper, England's best chance. Cook admitted post-match that he, like everyone else, misread conditions and was therefore dissuaded from picking a fourth pace bowler.

The pitch appeared bare at both ends, yet if anything lived up to its historical reputation as the paciest and most seam-friendly in India.

That will not be the case, surely, in Mumbai and Chennai, where England will most definitely have to beat their hosts at their own game if they are to have any success.