England vs India: Jimmy Anderson and Haseeb Hameed provide stunning opening day of third Test

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Haseeb Hameed and Rory Burns walk off with England’s lead 42 (Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Haseeb Hameed and Rory Burns walk off with England’s lead 42 (Michael Steele/Getty Images)

One down in the series against an aggressive team with many more bases covered, a mounting injury list, and a top order that changes every week. No bother.

Regardless of all that, opening days do not come much better than this. India asked England to bowl first. They took a wicket in the first over on the way to bowling India out for 78.

Then Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed, their new opening partnership – the 22nd in nine years – zipped into the lead unscathed, and made it to stumps on 120 without loss, a lead of 42. With the sun beating down and a capacity crowd well oiled, both men had fifties. India looked ragged, tired and frustrated.

It was not quite Melbourne 2010 (the last time they knocked off the opposition’s score without loss), or Trent Bridge 2015, but it was a stunning showing. Remarkably, after Ben Stokes’ heroics two years ago, this is not even England’s best 25 August at Headingley.

England’s bowling had been sensational, India’s batting insipid. Jimmy Anderson, after a week of vulnerability in admitting his mistakes at Lord’s, was impeccable, picking up KL Rahul in his first over, Cheteshwar Pujara in his second, and Kohli by the end of the first hour in a swing bowling clinic. His celebration for the wicket of Kohli was as wild as you ever see from Anderson.

Anderson was backed up so well that England did not need him after his opening spell of 8-5-6-3. Ollie Robinson picked up two key wickets, Craig Overton (who justified his election ahead of Saqib Mahmood nabbed career best figures of three for 16, and Sam Curran chipped in with two after a couple of quiet Tests.

India had grafted away for a decent hour after Kohli’s dismissal, with Rohit and Ajinkya Rahane sharing 35 – the biggest partnership of the innings. But, with lunch imminent, Robinson, back for a second spell, found a feather from Rahane and Buttler took his fifth catch. It was to be the final ball of the session.

After lunch, things nosedived further for India. Rishabh Pant came and went, caught behind off Robinson, in a horrible innings, then Rohit’s vigil – 19 from 105 balls – ended when he tried to pull Overton. This time he was caught at mid-on, rather than long-leg, at least.

England were into the tail that caused so much trouble at Lord’s – and things happened in a hurry. Mohammed Shami was well caught at third slip off Overton first ball, then Ishant Sharma kept out a fine hat-trick ball with a sensational field: three slips, a gully, two leg slips, short leg, short midwicket, short cover.

In the following over, bowled by Curran, England were able to employ a similar field for another hat-trick ball. Ravi Jadeja was plumb lbw, then Jasprit Bumrah fell in the same fashion. Both reviewed, to no avail. Shami and Bumrah, who put on an unbeaten 90 last week, both made golden ducks. Four wickets had fallen with the score on 67, the first innings total made by England in that extraordinary Test two years ago.

Ishant and Mohammed Siraj, having both survived hat-trick balls, swung hard to add 11 for the final wicket, the third highest partnership of the innings. Siraj was eventually caught well at first slip by Root, and it could have been even better for England. At second slip, Jonny Bairstow shelled a very tough chance when the score was 73. In stark contrast to India, that was the only mistake England made in the field.

Burns and Hameed had half an hour to survive until tea, and made it without alarm. India were extremely generous, with Ishant bowling a nine-ball first over that saw Hameed get off the mark with the first of a number of sweetly-timed cuts for four. They reached tea 21 without loss to end a session that saw India lose six for 22.

Their partnership seemed natural, slipping along with ease, turning the strike over, and picking off the bad ball. Ishant sttruggled with the Kirkstall Lane End, while only Bumrah was anywhere near his best. There were no real alarms, although Hameed reached his half-century with an edge through the hands of Rohit at second slip.

In the final hour, they ticked off little milestones. Into the lead, a century opening partnership at home for just the third time in five years, both men facing 100 balls, then reaching their half-century. They left the field to a standing ovation, an outstanding position forged.

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