Hameed's gutsy knock earns India's respect

30 November 2016
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Playing through the pain of a badly broken finger with nothing more than a couple of paracetamol tablets, the teenage opener showed he has the courage and determination to be one of the greats

About the Writer:

Chris Stocks is a freelance cricket writer based in London. He is a regular contributor to the Guardian, Daily Mail, Independent and London Evening Standard.

The pat on the back from Virat Kohli after Haseeb Hameed's heroic unbeaten 59 on the final day of this Third Test said it all.

India's captain had been a maddening on-field presence for England throughout the match, his on-going feud with Ben Stokes a backdrop to the hosts' ultimately comfortable eight-wicket win.

Hameed's performance, though, moved Kohli to make the most gracious of gestures.

Report, Highlights: Injured Hameed fights but India win

The 19-year-old opener has had an impressive debut series, his 82 in the first Test in Rajkot the highest Test score by a teenager for England and his 50-over block-athon during his side's second innings in Visakhapatnam showing he has the concentration and poise to prosper at the highest level.

But this knock, spanning almost three hours, was different. Battling though the pain of a broken finger that now sees him depart this tour early, Hameed showed he has the guts and fight to be a truly great player.

Kohli knows it, too.

"I was really impressed and that's why I patted him on the back," he said.

"It was an innings full of character and something that you need to applaud.

"I wish him a speedy recovery. He's showed great character for a 19-year old. He's definitely going to be a future star." 

Kohli congratulates Hameed on his unbeaten knock // Getty
Kohli congratulates Hameed on his unbeaten knock // Getty

Hameed took 111 balls to score his first boundary. It's no surprise then that the 640 balls he has faced in this series – including 156 during his second-innings here – are the most faced by any England player over these first three Tests.

What was a surprise, though, was Hameed smacking Ravichandran Ashwin for a huge six to bring up his second Test half-century.

The teenager had gone for a scan on Monday evening to assess the extent of the damage to his little finger after he was struck by Umesh Yadav on the first day of this Test.

However, England's Australian coach Trevor Bayliss admitted he did not get the results of that X-ray until halfway through the youngster's innings the next day.

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Even more remarkable is the fact Hameed battled through the pain not with the aid of an injection but just two paracetamol tablets.

"It's a break that is all the way through the finger – the finger's in two pieces," said Bayliss.

"Possibly, with hindsight it was a risk to bat today. If you'd have seen him in the change-room though you wouldn't have thought there was anything wrong with him.

"A couple of headache tablets and out he went. Obviously he's got a big pain threshold.

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"He wants to stay and play the last two Tests, he wouldn't take no for an answer. He wants to stay. 

"We'll make sure he gets back and gets it done so he's right to go early next season.

"I'm not sure when the medical people got the results of his scan but I only knew halfway through the innings."

Bayliss also revealed the skill it took for Hameed to bat with a broken finger, saying: "He was sore yesterday, he went over to net three times and the first two times weren't too successful. He was working out a way how to play with his little finger off the bat.

"Once he did that he was quite comfortable. It's a hell of a skill to have – to change the way you play to combat that."

This was the kind of innings worth more than a century. It showed what guts Hameed has and although it was ultimately in a losing cause it at least ensured England avoided complete humiliation in this match.

When he strode to the crease 34 minutes into this fourth day as his side's No.8 batsman, England were 6-107, still 27 runs shy of making India bat again. When the innings was over – India unable to get Hameed out – England had a lead of 102.

It wasn't much but it was at least something.

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England captain Alastair Cook said: "It's desperately unlucky. He has impressed us all with his technique, talent and now his bravery and shown when he's playing for England he will do anything to get out there.

"To play like that was a very special knock."

Cook was not wrong, neither was Kohli. Hameed will be back and for Australian audiences be warned – barring another injury he will certainly be facing the Baggy Green during next summer's Ashes series.

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