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Match Analysis

Kohli praise caps Hameed's 'awesome' rise

Haseeb Hameed's tour has been ended prematurely by injury but he has already made a lasting impression on team-mates and opponents

They say it is best to never meet your heroes, but Haseeb Hameed may well disagree.
The night before this series, he spoke with wide-eyed wonder about how "amazing" it would be to meet Virat Kohli. He was one of his cricketing heroes and the thought of playing against him was clearly a thrill.
Now he has not just met him, but won his respect. For while the relationship between these teams is not especially good - they came into the series with baggage from 2014, in particular - it was noticeable that Kohli not only applauded Hameed upon reaching his half-century in Mohali, but ran up to shake him by the hand at the end of his innings.
He had, to his great credit, recognised not only an innings of class and bravery, but perhaps something of a kindred spirit, too: this was one fine batsmen acknowledging another, albeit one who has achieved little by comparison at this stage of his career. It is a moment that is likely to console Hameed long after he has made the journey home to have surgery on his left hand.
"He's showed great character for a 19-year-old," Kohli said. "He put his hand up when his team wanted him to do it and the way he played with Anderson showed great maturity. You can sense it as a captain: this guy is intelligent, this guy knows the game.
"He's a great prospect for England. He's definitely going to be a future star in all forms if he keeps persisting with his skill. I'm really impressed and that's why I patted him on the back. It was an innings full of character and something that you need to applaud."
It may be relevant that Hameed, unlike some of the other players involved in this match, let his cricket do the talking and therefore hasn't irked the opposition. He doesn't feel the need to posture or pose; he doesn't feel the need to give opposition players a send-off when they're out or give them abuse when he is fielding.
Any thought that such behaviour equates to strong or brave cricket should have been banished years ago. Hameed has reminded us that you can be gutsy and determined without denigrating the opposition. And, both with his batting and his demeanour, he might have reminded one or two how this game could, and should, be played.
There were many impressive aspects of this innings. There was the range of strokes - including a delicious late cut, a slog-sweep for six and a front-foot hook - that showed he had been playing within himself in previous innings and hinted at an ability that could well feed into white-ball cricket. There was the sight of Hameed going to meet his new partner - James Anderson, a man with 118 more Tests than him - to offer some advice and encouragement and there was his ability to rotate the strike so effectively that Anderson only faced 11 out of the 40 balls they batted together.
But perhaps the most impressive feature of this innings was his ability to adapt to the physical imposition he faced and the bravery to attempt to do so.
"To change the way you play to combat [an injury] ... There's a lot of guys in there in awe of what he's been through"
Trevor Bayliss, England's coach
Hameed batted three times in the nets on Monday. The first two times were unsuccessful: the pain was such that he could hardly hold the bat, far less control it. It seemed he would bat only in an emergency and perhaps at No. 11. But then he experimented with a different grip where he was able to take his little finger off the bat. And, after some practice in the nets, reported that he was happy with the new technique.
So, as a 19-year-old in his third Test, he not only went out to bat with such a badly damaged finger that he knew it required surgery, but he did so with a makeshift grip. And then he played England's best innings of the match. It was hardly surprising that Trevor Bayliss, the England coach, described the team as "in awe" of their young colleague.
"It's a hell of a skill to have," Bayliss said. "To change the way you play to combat that. A couple of headache tablets and out he went. It is a lesson for others. There's a lot of guys in there in awe of what he's been through. The lack of showing any pain, and guts and determination is a good sign. There's plenty of other guys who have got hit and make a big song and dance about it. Obviously he's got a big pain threshold."
They were sentiments echoed by Alastair Cook. He has been searching for an opening partner since July 2012 and the retirement of Andrew Strauss. But the search is over. Hameed is likely to be his regular opening partner for the rest of his career.
"He has impressed us all with technique, his talent and now his bravery," Cook said. "He has shown us he will do anything to get out there. That was a very special knock. We will hold him in huge respect for it."
International cricket is brutal though and, when Hameed does return, he must know he will face a sustained examination of his technique against the short ball. While his bravery is not in question, his habit of playing with low hands might render this the sort of incident that could reoccur.
Keen to test him with the bouncer here, India started with a short leg, leg slip and deep-backward square for him in the second innings. But while there were a couple of times he looked hurried by the short ball - and Mohammed Shami has bowled terrifically this series - he managed to get on top of the ball and play it straight down into the ground at his feet. And each time the follow-up full delivery demanded a forward stroke, his feet moved without hesitation and his judgement over which ball to play and leave remained impeccable. He looked, once again, calm and composed.
Within a couple of overs the leg slip had gone. An over later, the short leg had gone. Instead of just tucking the ball off his ribs or into the ground, Hameed had started to pull and hook. He is learning and adapting with every innings. It is a shame his series is over.
He was desperate not to go home. He has loved this experience and pleaded with the medical team to tape up the finger and let him carry on. But sense prevailed. He will leave in the next day or two and have the operation as soon as possible. You can be quite certain, however, that he will be opening the batting for England when their Test schedule resumes in July.
"He wants to stay and play the last two Tests," Bayliss said. "He wouldn't take no for an answer. He wants to stay. His old man said 'Just tape it up, he'll be all right'.
"It's a great sign. It's the sort of attitude you want. Not only can he play but it's great to see an attitude like that. We'll make sure he gets back and gets it done so he's right to go early next season."
It seems Hameed may have come into the match carrying the injury. He took a blow to the hand in the second innings in Visakhapatnam - his first ball was a sharp bouncer that he played poorly - and was then dismissed in the first innings here by a ball that jumped off a length and hit his glove in exactly the same place.
"The medical people think he probably cracked it in the second Test," Bayliss said. "He's copped another one in the same spot. It's a break that is all the way through the finger. The finger's in two pieces so it's an injury that the medical people say if he gets another knock on it, especially in the field, it could bend it right back. It's best to get it done as soon as we can."
Indeed it is. And for all the disappointment England may well have at the end of this series - it is hard to avoid the conclusion it reached tipping point on Monday - they will go home consoled in the knowledge that they have found a batsmen who should serve them well for a decade or more. You suspect Bayliss and Cook thought so after Rajkot. In Mohali, Kohli recognised it, too.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo