England take early honours at Lord’s

LONDON, (Reuters) – England took the early honours  in the first test against India at Lord’s yesterday before the  rain which blighted the series against Sri Lanka again had the  final say.

Jonathan Trott reached his half century off 89 balls.

No play was possible after tea in the 2,000th test and the  100th between the two countries with England finishing on 127  for two after being asked to bat by Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Jonathan Trott, the most fluent of the England batsmen in  testing conditions with the ball swinging late under heavy cloud  cover, was on 58 after surviving two difficult chances while  Kevin Pietersen had reached 22 from 73 balls

Openers Andrew Strauss (22) and Alastair Cook (12) were both  dismissed by the excellent Zaheer Khan, who bent the ball late  in the air and off the pitch.

The left-arm pace bowler had taken two for 18 from 13.3  overs when he strained a hamstring and left the field during the  afternoon session.

An Indian team official said Zaheer had been examined by the  medical team and a statement about his condition would probably  be issued before this morning.

In his absence, the backup bowling was not of the same  calibre in conditions offering plenty of assistance to swing and  seam bowlers and Trott and Pietersen extended their third-wicket  partnership to 65 from 149 balls.

The rain, which had held off after early morning showers  delayed the start by 30 minutes, then swept over Lord’s and  umpires Billy Bowden and Asad Rauf finally called play off for  the day with only 49.2 of the allotted 90 overs completed.

India began with three maiden overs before Cook edged the  19th ball of the innings to the third-man boundary. But the  prolific England left-hander was unable to reproduce his heroics  of the Lord’s test against Sri Lanka, when he scored 96 and 106,  falling lbw pushing forward to Zaheer.

The Decision Review System (DRS) for lbws is not being used  in this series after India refused to agree to ball-tracking  technology although television replays showed Cook would not  have been successful even if he had had the right to appeal.

Strauss should have been run out on three when Ishant Sharma  missed a shy at the stumps at the bowler’s end when the England  captain was short of his ground after being sent back by Cook.

Ten minutes before lunch Rahul Dravid, who holds the world  record for test catches, failed to grasp a sharp chance at slip  from Trott on eight off Harbhajan Singh’s first delivery.

When play resumed after the interval, Strauss, after 107  minutes of resolute defence, reached for a short ball from  Zaheer outside his off stump and skied an attempted hook to  Sharma who did not have to move at fine-leg.

Sharma, bowling to three slips, pitched the ball wide to the  new batsman Pietersen who refused to be tempted. He took 14  balls before he got off the mark with a squeezed single to leg.

Trott clipped Sharma to the mid-wicket boundary and  collected another boundary through the covers off Praveen Kumar.

He brought up his seventh test half-century from 89 balls  with eight fours after receiving another life on 32 when a  catchable edge flew between wicketkeeper Dhoni and Dravid to the  boundary.

Indian coach Duncan Fletcher told a news conference the team  would have been happier with three rather than two wickets after  deciding to field first.

Around the Web