|First Test, Rajkot (day four):|
|England 537 & 114-0: Hameed 62*, Cook 46*|
|India 488: Vijay 126, Pujara 124, Rashid 4-114|
|England lead by 163 runs|
Haseeb Hameed struck a half-century on his debut to help England build a healthy lead over India on the fourth day of the first Test in Rajkot.
The 19-year-old, who ended unbeaten on 62, became the third-youngest player to hit a fifty for England.
With captain Alastair Cook, who is 46 not out, Hameed took England to 114-0, an advantage of 163.
Leg-spinner Adil Rashid had earlier impressed with 4-114 in India’s 488, while Ravichandran Ashwin made 70.
When England took the final wicket of Ashwin on the stroke of tea, it seemed like India were more likely to force a victory by shooting out the tourists on a pitch that is now showing greater amounts of turn.
But with Hameed shining and even outplaying the occasionally skittish Cook, England dealt with the threat of India’s spinners and it is they who are set to dictate the course of the final day.
Cook may wish for his batsmen to press on in the morning in the hope of declaring, even if there is probably not enough time to bowl India out again.
“England’s plan will have been to bat tonight and into tomorrow morning,” said BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew. “The big question for me is how much Cook trusts his spinners if a declaration came into the equation.”
Has Hameed ended England’s longest wait?
Since Andrew Strauss retired in 2012, England have gone through 10 different openers in partnership with Cook and none have looked so instantly at home at the top of the order as Hameed, who only joined Lancashire’s Academy and Scholarship programme in the year Strauss called it a day.
In a situation that could have proved difficult – a slender lead and with India’s spinners prowling – Hameed, only the second teenager to debut for England since 1949, looked more assured even than the vastly experienced Cook.
Nicknamed ‘Baby Boycott’ for a perceived cautious approach, he imposed himself with a wonderful straight six off the left-arm spin of Ravindra Jadeja.
The right-hander moved the ball around, played some delightful cover drives and deft cuts, one of which brought up a half-century that was celebrated with tears by father Ismail, who was born in Gujarat, the state in which this match is being played.
Hameed sleeps on the highest score made by a batsman under the age of 20 for England since 1937. If he reaches three figures on Sunday he will become the first teenage England player to do so.
‘He had made a big impression’
Former England opener Geoffrey Boycott
Hameed has done everything, from being able to defend sensibly and then when he has looked to attack he has stroked with precision and timing. He looks like a proper player.
Ex-England spinner Vic Marks
He has made a big impression on me. That long search for an opener looks to be over. I’m purring – he’s played three or four shots which have been perfection. The six was one of those moments where your eyes pop and you think ‘hang on, there’s something a bit special here’. I bet in the dressing room, Trevor Bayliss will be looking on with more interest than ever.
BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew
All of the other opening batsmen England have put on parade, as a former opening bowler I have seen weaknesses in their game. But there’s nothing obvious about Hameed’s game. He looks very solid and composed.
Rashid proves his worth
Yorkshire’s Rashid took five wickets on his debut against Pakistan last year but has since struggled to prove he belongs at Test level.
Here he put in his most impressive performance to date and has looked the most threatening spinner on either side.
After Zafar Ansari got through Ajinkya Rahane, Rashid claimed the vital wicket of Virat Kohli in curious fashion, with the India captain going too far back and treading on his stumps.
Bowling with control, loop and extracting bounce, Rashid also had Jadeja caught at short leg and completely deceived swiping tailender Umesh Yadav.
All-round Ashwin frustrates England
Resuming on 319-4, India were still 176 adrift when Rahane and Kohli fell in the space of 12 runs.
But any hopes that England had of securing a large lead were snuffed out by Ashwin, who shared a stand of 64 with wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha.
Primarily in the side as a bowler, Ashwin has four Test centuries and looked in complete control, hanging in the crease to do the majority of his scoring on the back foot.
England’s bowlers again impressed with their accuracy and the fielding was tigerish, but Cook did drop a simple slip catch off Mohammed Shami when the number 11 had only one.
The last-wicket pair went on to add 29, a stand ended when Ashwin holed out to deep mid-wicket to give Moeen Ali a second victim.
‘We’re in a great position’
England spinner Adil Rashid on Sky Sports: “To get a lead of 160-odd, we’re in a great position and we can perform tomorrow with the ball.
“We still have batting to do. We just have to get to lunchtime or tea or whenever it is and see if we can put the pressure on. We’ve got to have the belief we can do that.
On Haseeb Hameed: “He’s a quiet boy but he works very hard. He’s very organised and has had a good temperament. He’s tricky to bowl at, he uses his feet a lot. He works very hard in the nets and it has shown today.”
- There have been 49 Tests where both teams have made 480 or more in their first innings and 43 of those have ended in draws
- Virat Kohli is the first India batsman to be out hit-wicket since VVS Laxman in 2002
- Ravinchandran Ashwin made his third fifty against England. He averages 52 against them in 11 innings
- Haseeb Hameed is the fourth England player to take three catches on his debut. The first one was Thomas Emmett in the first Test match in 1877. Paul Collingwood was the most recent