Former Indian pacer Zaheer Khan believes that the English dressing room will be delighted with the start that Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed provided to the hosts in the Leeds Test. He also added that young opener Hameed has relished the opening position after batting at No.3 in the second Test.
After their 151-run defeat at Lord's, England were under the pump heading into the third Test in Leeds. One of the major issues had been the poor returns of the top-order, and after the second Test, the duo of Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley was dropped, with Burns and Hameed opening at Headingley. And the move did wonders for the the hosts as in the very first innings of their opening partnership, the pair added 135 runs for the first wicket and further strengthened England's position in the Test, after they had bundled out India for a meagre 78.
To put things into perspective, it was England's first-century stand for the opening wicket after 25 innings in Tests. By the time Hameed (68) and Burns (61) perished, England had already gained a lead of 57 runs in the innings. After that, Dawid Malan and Joe Root continued to pile misery on the Indian bowlers as they added 139 runs for the third wicket.
Talking about England's opening pair, former Indian bowler Zaheer Khan stated that the English camp would be happy with their openers show, and such a start eases things for the other batters in the side.
"The English camp will be pleased with the way the openers Rory Burns and Hameed batted at Headingley. It also goes on to show that if the openers get the team off to a good start, things turn comparatively easier for the other batters in the side as has been the case for Dawid Malan with England in the ascendancy. At the same time, it toughened up the job for the Indian bowlers," Zaheer stated in an interaction with Cricbuzz.
Haseeb Hameed, who entered the series in red-hot form, had an underwhelming outing on his return at Lord's. However, he was at his best in the ongoing Test and scored a valuable 68 off 195, showing great application and temperament. Zaheer reckoned that he relished opening the batting and made full use of the freebies that India offered on the opening day of the Test.
"Haseeb Hameed plays a lot of shots on the square off the wicket. He has scored heavily on the back foot and pounced on the width given by the Indian bowlers. He also cashed in as and when the Indian bowlers erred on the opening day of the Test. He had to bat at No.3 in the last Test but he has relished opening the batting for the Three Lions at his usual position."