|Scorecard:||England v New Zealand|
|Event:||New Zealand in England 2013|
DateLine: 16th May 2013
Andy Jalil reports from Lord's
In Association with INVESTEC
After a month and a halfís hiatus England resumed Test cricket against the same opponents who had outplayed them much against expectations but narrowly missed out on winning. New Zealand firmly had the upper hand in the drawn series on their grounds and England now look to put that right. But by the end of a ponderous first day of the first Investec Test, when rain stopped play after 80 overs, England were uncomfortably placed on 160 for four with much work to do for recovery.
Early season Test matches usually seem to favour England who are happier than their opponents in the more suitable home conditions. In their attempt to find their winning ways again they began the first Test most cautiously after deciding to make first use of a slow pitch. Nick Compton, who scored his maiden Test century in the first Test of the series in New Zealand and followed that with another hundred in the next Test, was particularly watchful against some accurate bowling.
Alistair Cook too wasnít in any hurry as the two settled in and gradually progressed to 43 before New Zealand finally had their first success of the morning session 25 minutes before lunch. After a spell of four consecutive maiden overs during which both batsmen faced the bowling, Compton, having received 62 balls for his 16 runs decided to step out for a lofted off-drive and only managed to get an outside edge to a turning ball from left arm spinner Bruce Martin with Tim Southee holding a looping catch at point.
It was a good bowling change as Martin had taken the wicket with the first ball of only his second over and he nearly had another when he managed to get both hands for a return chest-high catch from Jonathan Trott but failed to hold on to the ball going to his right. It was only the third ball that Trott had faced and the let- off made him so careful that he ended the session with just one scoring shot from 21 balls. He had four runs from a lovely cover drive, off Martin, in the last over before the break.
Englandís 50 had come from 154 balls and the session ended on 56 for one of which Cook had 30 from 93 balls but more importantly for England there was the loss of only one wicket. However, New Zealand didnít take long to hit back as within half an hour of the start of the afternoon session, Cook, having added 2 runs from 22 balls, was held behind the stumps. He had played forward defensively to left-arm pace bowler Trent Boult but didnít get quite behind the line and England were 67 for two.
Trott and Ian Bell brought about a partial recovery in a 45-run stand taking the total to 112 before Boult struck again coming back for his fourth spell. Trott had moved on to 36 with a beautiful drive to extra cover for his sixth boundary off Neil Wagner and added three more to his score before receiving a seaming ball which he edged to third slip for Dean Brownlie to take a brilliant catch inches off the ground as he dived to his left.
At Trott's dismissal Bell was on 18 which he reached driving Wagner for a lovely extra cover boundary and that remained his score, from 62 balls, at tea with England struggling on 113 for three. New Zealand bowlers had kept control of play on a helpful day of mainly cloudy condition. In stages the sun came out, as in the final session for a slightly prolonged period. Bell had 22-year-old Joe Root as his new batting partner just before the end of the second session.
Much is expected of this promising young batsman who, prior to this Test match had 646 runs in four first-class innings this year having hit, 49, 182 and 236 for his county Yorkshire and 179 last week in New Zealandís tour match against England Lions.
The tourists brought on off-spinner Kane Williamson for the 67th over of the day and Bell went to 26 cracking his first ball for four to cover off the back foot and then played five dot balls. Halfway through the last session New Zealand had spinners on from both ends for a short period before Wagner replaced Williamson who bowled 3 overs for eight.
The 150 of the England innings came up in the 75th over with Bell driving Wagner to cover for his fourth boundary to reach 31. But in his next over Wagner reduced England for 157 for four with Bell, after nearly three hours at the crease, getting a faint touch for a catch behind as he opened the face of the bat to a ball he should have left alone. Root meanwhile had pulled Martin to take his score to 25.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2013 Andy Jalil)