Ben Stokes, Joe Root Dominate New Zealand On Day One
England 354-7 (Root 98) v New Zealand
First Test, Lord's, day one
Ben Stokes and Joe Root scored scintillating half centuries to resurrect a struggling England innings helping spark an impressive fightback on day one of the first Test against New Zealand at Lord’s ending on 354 for seven.
New Zealand won the toss and opted to field first. England started with their sixth opening pair in three years, Adam Lyth (7) getting a debut.
Tim Southee (1-82) started impressively for New Zealand moving the ball and making Alastair Cook (16) uncomfortable.
However, it was the debutant’s day that Southee eventually ruined getting his faint nick for a catch to wicket-keeper BJ Watling.
Trent Boult (2-70) removed Gary Ballance (1) with a juicy half-volley that was edged and taken beautifully by Southee at third slip.
Matt Henry (3-93) got the skipper Cook with a short, quick delivery that got a whiff of the edge and was taken by the keeper on the leg-side.
Henry came back in his next over to leave England in big trouble by getting Ian Bell (1) with a beauty of a delivery that pitched on off and held its line to remove the stump.
England were tottering at that point at 31 for four after 13 overs.
Ben Stokes (92) was promoted up the order, walking out at number six and he, along with Joe Root (98), started the counter-attack straightaway.
Root managed 10 runs off Boult’s fifth over including a four and a little later, Stokes got two fours off Southee, although the second was off a thick outside edge.
Both batsmen were going at run a ball at that point bringing up the England fifty. Stokes hit consecutive fours off Boult the next over too.
New Zealand went for spin just before lunch on day one bringing on Mark Craig (1-77) who got into the action straightaway.
Root missed a sweep and although the umpire gave it not out, Brendon McCullum went for a review. However Root survived the call as the impact was umpire’s call.
The next over from Craig, Root managed three fours to get England across 100 runs and to Nelson.
England went into lunch at 113 for four after 26 overs, scoring 82 without loss from just 13 overs in the second half of the session after Stokes’ arrival.
Root got to his fifty in the second over of the post-lunch session and motored along nicely.
Stokes too brought up his fifty with couple of delicately played onside flicks off Southee’s bowling, the first of them also bringing up the 100-run partnership for the fifth wicket.
New Zealand failed to build pressure and were unable to bowl too many maiden overs as Stokes raced ahead of Root, with two fours and a six off one over from Henry that went for 15 following it up with another 10 runs from Boult’s over.
Stokes missed a well-deserved century though, as he shouldered arms to Craig’s innocuous looking off-spinner that took out his off stump, his 92 coming off just 94 balls with 15 fours and a six.
He added 161 with Root 32 overs. England won the post-lunch session going into tea at 219 for five in 54 overs having scored 101 runs for the loss of one wicket in 28 overs.
After tea, Root got very close to a century with a couple of fours off Craig. However, he followed Stokes in missing a well deserved ton, falling just two short.
He added 60 with Jos Buttler (67) for the sixth wicket as England reached 255 for six.
Henry got his third wicket of the day when Root slashed at a wide ball and got only an edge to the keeper.
Moeen Ali (49 not out) survived an lbw review first ball but ensured it was England’s day.
Buttler managed to bring up his fifty just before the arrival of new ball with a single. Ali made hay as well cracking two fours off Craig in the 80th over.
He had some luck too as Southee dropped a tough caught and bowled chance in the second over with the new ball.
England were looking really good at 354 for six before the last over but Boult got Buttler lbw off the final delivery of the day with a full in-swinging delivery to leave England at 354 for seven.
Buttler added 103 runs for the seventh wicket contributing to the England resurgence as they managed to score 324 runs for the loss of three wickets after the initial collapse.
England also managed 135 runs in the post-tea session losing the wickets of Root and Buttler.
For New Zealand, Henry had a great first day in Test cricket with three wickets. While Boult did well, Southee went flat after the initial burst on a track that doesn’t have a lot of nip.
© Cricket World 2015