England battle against excellent Zaheer

Friday, 22 July 2011 01:17 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

    By John Mehaffey    

England's captain Andrew Strauss  tosses the coin as India's captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni calls before the first cricket test match at Lord's cricket ground -REUTERS

LONDON, (Reuters) - England battled to 127 for two at tea on the opening day of the first test against India at Lord's on Thursday in the face of some excellent swing bowling from left-arm pace bowler Zaheer Khan.

 Jonathan Trott, the most assured of the England batsman,

completed his seventh test half-century to reach 58 not out when the players left the field 20 minutes early because of bad light.

 He was accompanied by Kevin Pietersen, who batted with  resolute self-denial to compile 22 off 73 deliveries.

 Zaheer left the field with a hamstring injury during an extended afternoon session after dismissing England openers Andrew Strauss (22) and Alastair Cook (12) at the cost of only 18 runs from 13.3 overs. He should have had a third victim when Trott on 32 edged the ball between captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni behind the stumps and Rahul Dravid at first slip.

 The 2000th test and the 100th between the two countries started half an hour late after morning rain which freshened the pitch further after a week of dismal weather and persuaded Dhoni to ask England to bat after winning the toss.

 The ball moved consistently and sometimes extravagantly through the air and off the pitch and England did not get off the mark until the 19th ball when Cook edged Praveen Kumar to the third-man boundary.  Cook, who scored 96 and 106 in his last test at Lord's against Sri Lanka in June, was lbw pushing forward to Zaheer after 45 minutes at the crease.

 The decision review system (DRS) for lbws is not being used in this series after India refused to agree to ball-tracking technology but television replays showed Cook would not have been successful 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 Dravid, who holds the world record

for catches, failed to grasp a sharp chance at slip from Trott on eight off Harbhajan Singh's first delivery.

 When play resumed after lunch, Strauss, after 107 minutes

of resolute defence, reached for a short ball outside his off stump and skied an attempted hook to Sharma who did not have to move at fine-leg. Zaheer did not concede a run in his opening four-over spell after the interval.

 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 half-century from 89 balls with eight fours and at tea the third-wicket partnership was worth 65 runs.