by Luke Ireland-Hill
England battled to 160-4 as New Zealand enjoyed the better of a slow opening day of the first Test at Lord’s.
Number 3 Jonathan Trott made 39, captain Alastair Cook 32 off 115 balls and Ian Bell batted patiently for a 133 ball 31. However the failure of three of England’s most experienced batsman to go on to get a big score after getting themselves in proved the theme of the day.
On a slow pitch and ever slower outfield, England started in first gear and made a solid start, but they were never able to make progress and got bogged down before lunch. This was due in part to the tourist’s bowling attack that put in a disciplined performance after losing the toss.
Play was ended 10 overs before the scheduled close, as the rain that was expected finally arrived, with Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow ending the day on 25 and 3 respectively.
Trent Boult, 2-29 from 17 overs, was the pick of the tourist’s bowlers, with his second wicket arriving thanks to an outstanding diving catch from Dean Brownlie to remove the normally reliant Trott.
Despite this outstanding piece of fielding, the day never lived up to expectation with England tottering along at a run rate of 2 an over, slow even for the longer format of the game.
On a difficult pitch it is difficult to gauge what a good score would be until New Zealand have batted their first innings.
But day 2 will make for fascinating viewing as England can bat down to number 9 so the panic bells will not be ringing yet, but New Zealand know that a couple of early wickets along with the new ball being just 9 overs away will put them in a very strong position.
Play resumes at 11am tomorrow.