MOHALI, INDIA – Joe Root's determination and Haseem Hameed's grit were not enough for England as India won the third Test by eight wickets inside four days to go 2-0 up in the five-match series on Tuesday.
Playing his first Test in eight years, Parthiv Patel smashed an unbeaten 67 off 54 balls and the hosts chased down their 103-run victory target for the loss of Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara.
After conceding a 134-run first-innings lead, England had their backs firmly against the wall and Monday's top-order collapse left them with an impossible task to save the game.
"The first two days went exactly as we wanted as a Test team," India captain Virat Kohli told reporters.
"When you lose the toss on a good wicket, the bowlers stand up. On day two, you are 160-5 and your lower order steps up. Those two days, along with the third, were very pleasing for me as the captain," he added.
Root's composed 78 helped erased the deficit and an unbeaten 59 by Hameed, batting down the order after breaking his finger, ensured India had a three-figure target to chase after bowling out England for 236 in the afternoon session.
Resuming on 78-4, England suffered early setbacks.
Nightwatchman Gareth Batty failed to trouble the scorers, trapped lbw by Ravindra Jadeja in the second over of the day.
Jos Buttler, arriving at the crease with his team reeling on 78-5, clobbered Jadeja over his head for six and smacked a boundary to bring up England's 100.
But he fell for a run-a-ball 18 trying to hit Jayant Yadav over mid-on, Jadeja taking a stooping catch at mid-wicket.
Root survived two leg-before appeals in one Jadeja over but otherwise looked rock solid as he brought up his 25th Test fifty with an elegant boundary, raising his bat in muted celebration.
His brave 179-ball battle ended in a rather soft dismissal when he pushed at a Jadeja delivery and Ajinkya Rahane took a sharp one-handed catch at slip.
Hameed refused to give up, however, defying the Indian bowlers with solid defence alongside Chris Woakes who made a fluent 30.
Paceman Mohammed Shami then struck twice in an over with the new ball to all but end England's resistance, bouncing out Woakes and inducing Adil Rashid into an awkward pull that was caught on the boundary.
Hameed was left stranded when James Anderson was run out for five. The 19-year-old, who misses the remaining two Tests with the injury, remained unbeaten after nearly three hours at the crease to enhance his burgeoning reputation.
England captain Alastair Cook said he, along with others, misread the pitch but blamed the batsmen for the defeat.
"No magic balls were being bowled really...It was not that the pitch was behaving," said Cook, who moved past former Australia captain Steve Waugh to become the 10th highest run-scorer in Test cricket.
"It was good, accurate bowling, as you expect from India in these conditions, but it was not unplayable. We didn't score enough runs."
Jadeja, who scored a career-best 90 and picked up four wickets, was adjudged man of the match.
The fourth Test in Mumbai starts on Dec. 8. –Reuters