England build lead despite India fightback on second morning

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Haseeb Hameed reacts after his dismissal (Nigel French/PA) (PA Wire)
Haseeb Hameed reacts after his dismissal (Nigel French/PA) (PA Wire)

England followed up their dream first day at Headingley with a more even second morning against India losing openers Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed but extending their lead to 104.

Wednesday’s play at the third LV= Insurance Test was one of England’s most dominant showings ever, skittling the tourists for 78 after losing the toss then finishing with an unbroken first-wicket stand of 120.

At lunch that had moved to 182 for two, with the recalled Dawid Malan (27 not out) and in-form captain Joe Root (21no) at the crease.

Both Burns and Hameed, in their first outing as a duo following Dom Sibley’s dropping, resumed with unbeaten half-centuries to their name but neither was able to bank the big score they would have set their sights on overnight.

There were a couple of red herrings early on, with each batsman given a freebie boundary on the pads to ease into their stride, but India’s bowling was much improved and the scoring options dried up quickly.

Burns was celebrating his 31st birthday but India were in no mood to gift him a fourth Test hundred to mark the occasion. Instead he was undone for 61, aiming a crooked bat at a Mohammed Shami delivery that seamed in from round the wicket and flicked the off stump via an inside edge.

The opening stand, England’s biggest in five years, was halted at 135 but Hameed was intent on extending his stay. He was happy to leave and show off his well-rehearsed forward defence, almost entirely stripping away his scoring options.

His new partner Malan took a different approach on his first Test innings for three years, with his first four scoring shots all hitting the boundary boards. The 33-year-old was off the mark with a cover drive off Shami, welcomed Mohammed Siraj to the attack with a pair of ruthless cuts and also squeezed away a compact square drive.

There were uncertain moments, one leave that was dangerously close for comfort and an airy drive that could have taken the edge, but it was a mostly confident return to England whites.

Hameed looked immovable at the other end and it took a peach of a ball to remove him for 68, left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja turning one past a solid-looking forward press and somehow clipping an off stump that appeared to be covered. He had scored only eight runs from 65 balls in the session but, after a challenging return to the team at Lord’s last time out, Hameed had restated his international credentials eloquently.

Root was typically busy, collecting a pair of boundaries in the final over before the break to take the lead into three figures.

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