England 160-4 (Trott 39, Boult 2-29) v
First Test, Lord’s, day one
Report by Daniel Grummitt
The late wicket of Ian Bell gave New Zealand the edge on a slow-moving opening day against England at Lord’s. Bell, who had worked hard throughout his innings, interspersing caution with the occasional sweet piece of timing, nibbled at a relatively wide delivery from the whole-hearted Neil Wagner to end his 133-ball stay at 31.
Bell’s innings was, in a way, a microcosm of the day’s play. England’s one-paced top-order struggled for the duration of the day to lift the scoring rate much above two runs per over as New Zealand’s pace attack found enough swing and seam movement to pose problems. All of Alastair Cook, Nick Compton and Jonathan Trott got starts but all were extracted by either a good delivery or, in the case of Compton, a poor shot when well set.
The manner of Compton’s demise was completely out of character. Having seen off the threat from Trent Boult, swinging it in, and Tim Southee, swinging it away, he seemingly got frustrated and tried to relieve it against the left-arm spin of Bruce Martin. However, Martin, a canny cricketer, floated one up outside off-stump. Compton advanced aiming a lofted drive over cover but succeeded only in looping a catch to Southee at point. The statistics from his innings read 16 from 62 balls with no boundaries.
Cook and Trott did not fare much better. Cook edged a good length delivery from Boult through to a tumbling BJ Watling when on 32 off 115 balls just after lunch, while Trott, who was dropped early on in his innings by Martin, was also the victim of a good piece of bowling and an excellent catch, this time by Dean Brownlie at third slip. Both men had strike rates that are well down on their career averages, with Trott marginally the more fluent of the two.
However, only partly can the blame for the slow scoring be laid at the door of England’s batsmen. Indeed it could be argued that such was the superb nature of the bowling, and the sluggishness of both the pitch and outfield, that they actually did rather well, save for getting out when they did. If the close of play score had read 160 for one rather than 160 for four then they would probably be gaining plaudits rather than criticism. Even without the dismissal of Bell late on, they would have been fairly content with their day’s work. With it, they are probably just behind but, of course, you can’t judge a pitch until both sides have batted on it. England’s bowlers should enjoy conditions just as much as New Zealand’s have.
© Cricket World 2013
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