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Five things: Mohali

Sky Sports logo Sky Sports 30-11-2016 skysports.com

It was a Test match to forget for England in Mohali as they failed to take advantage of winning the toss, lost one of their top performers of the series and fell to an eight-wicket defeat. 

India now lead the five-match series 2-0 with just two games to play with their trio of all-rounders and the recalled Parthiv Patel all making telling contributions as Virat Kohli's side largely outplayed their visitors.

England, meanwhile, are left to ponder the balance of their team after third spinner Gareth Batty found himself on the periphery of proceedings for much of the game. Here's five things from the third Test.

India's all-round class

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For all the talk that England's lower order have too often been required to bail out the side's more senior batsmen in recent times, the situation is not unique to Alastair Cook's men. In Mohali, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Jayant Yadav showed once again - and in some style - that India, too, bat deep.

Having taken five wickets between them - including the prized scalps of Cook, Joe Root, Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow - as England slumped to 283 all out in their first innings, all three all-rounders proceeded to make valuable half-centuries to help the hosts, who had been struggling at 154-5 and 204-6, earn a sizeable first innings lead of 134.

Ashwin's fifty was his third of the series, Jayant's first in Test cricket seems unlikely to be his last and Jadeja will surely be frustrated to have thrown his wicket away after a Test-best 90 - a disappointing end to a mature knock.

"Usually he's a bit of a dasher, happy-go-lucky but he played to the situation," Paul Collingwood said of Jadeja. "He knew it was important for the team to get some runs and once he got in, he was able to go and play his shots. It's so vital to have all-rounders like him."

The bad news for England is that India have got not just one, but three of them.

Hameed heading home

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It seems odd given the criticism that England's top order have received during this tour, but in Haseeb Hameed, they look to have unearthed a gem. And yet, no sooner had he arrived, the Lancastrian opener is on his way home to undergo surgery on a broken finger.

One of the few batsmen not to lose their wicket cheaply in the first innings, Hameed was then conspicuous by his absence for the next two days - first in the field and then as England began their second innings.

Having been struck on the finger for the second time in the series, he required an x-ray to reveal the extent of the damage but, bizarrely, England opted to wait until the end of the third day to make that happen. The eventual outcome being that Hameed will return to the UK to have a plate put into his hand.

That did not stop him from courageously coming out to bat at No 8 on day four and hitting an unbeaten 59. The teenager leaves the tour with 219 runs, two fifties and an average of 43.80. The dilemma for the selectors now is how to replace him. Nick Gubbins, Keaton Jennings and Sam Billings have been touted as potential alternatives while a recall for Ben Duckett remains a possibility.

Parthiv (re-)joins the party

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While England are faced with a fresh issue at the top of the order, India may just have found a solution. Eight years after his last Test appearance, Parthiv Patel was recalled to the side after injuries to Lokesh Rahul and Wriddhiman Saha and seized his chance with scores of 42 and 67 not out.

Opening with Murali Vijay, the left-hander looked in good touch in India's first innings before he was eventually given out lbw on review, having come down the pitch to Adil Rashid.

It was a highly encouraging knock, especially given the struggles of Gautum Gambhir and Rahul in the first two Tests, the pair averaging 14.50 and 5.00 respectively in this series.

Despite a few issues with his 'keeping, his unbeaten 67 from 54 balls to seal India's win emphasised his ability with the bat and his captain was certainly impressed - refusing to rule out the possibility of selecting Parthiv as a specialist batsman.

"You never know, there are all kinds of possibilities," Kohli said. "The way he approached both innings, it was amazing to see."

"England have played with 10"

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Trial by spin. That is what England were told to expect in India, and, to a certain extent, that has been the case - Ashwin, Jadeja and Jayant all making life difficult for England's batsmen.

However, as yet England have not had to deal with a more typical, turning Indian wicket. In each of Rajkot, Visakhapatnam and Mohali, the pitch has held up and the anticipated vicious spin has not been forthcoming.

England though have persisted with three spinners in the first three Tests, Gareth Batty replacing Zafar Ansari in Mohali, leading to questions over the balance of the England team and whether they were hindering themselves by not playing to their strengths.

"It always felt like they had it wrong picking Gareth Batty in the first place," Rob Key told The Verdict after day three. "I much would have preferred to have had someone like Jake Ball, even though he hasn't played much Test cricket.

"The problem Cook has had is that you feel for the last few games he's been playing with 10 men, especially with the ball. He hasn't wanted to use Ansari in the last game, he hasn't really wanted to use Batty too much and then when Batty does come on, the game has gone."

After Batty was entrusted with just 19.2 wicketless overs in Mohali, England may opt to turn back to their traditional strength and pick a fourth seamer in Mumbai.

Pundits' penalty joy

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They may have ended up on the losing side but there were moments to savour for Bairstow and Stokes in Mohali.

Stokes picked up a five-for in India's first innings while Bairstow, in taking the catch to give Stokes his fifth wicket, set a Test record for the most dismissals by a wicketkeeper in a year - 68.

And their achievements are all the more remarkable when you consider they managed the feats just days after a crushing penalty shootout defeat to Sky Sports commentators Michael Atherton and Nasser Hussain.

With Jos Buttler between the sticks, the score was tied at 2-2 after two penalties each - Stokes scoring with a perfectly-executed Panenka - before Atherton smashed home the winning effort in sudden death.

A shock result and one that Stokes and Bairstow will struggle to live down for some time, you'd imagine.


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