Rain dominates Day 1; Zak`s cramps a worry
London: Gloomy day, overcast conditions, the English summer was underway as usual for Dhoni`s men on the monumental occasion of 2000th Test match at the home of cricket, Lord’s.
England stood at 127 for 2 when rain interrupted play on Day 1 of the first Test between India and England and it remained the same at the end of the day.
Not exactly a perfect start for a landmark Test but it was not a good start for India as well as the Indian bowling spearhead Zaheer Khan hobbled his way into the pavilion with a hamstring injury as Jonathan Trott in his usual way held the fort for England with a half century.
Put into bat by the Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni after a delay of one hour, Captain Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook walked on to the green patch to face Zaheer Khan from the Nursery end.
Praveen Kumar for the first time shared the new ball with Zak and immediately his swing made Cook and Strauss dance to the ball’s tune.
It was a sedate start for England openers as they played out three maidens before opening the account with a boundary.
The overcast conditions were clearly helping pacers significantly in the morning, particularly Praveen Kumar who got the maximum bargain from the duke ball.
Zaheer Khan kept his line and length intact to set up in-form Cook with a series of probing off stump deliveries before bowling a straight one trapping the opener leg before wicket for 12 (36), who was playing for the non-existent swing.
Thus, Zaheer drew the first blood of the series but Andrew Strauss was going solid at the other end soon to be joined by Jonathan Trott.
Ishant came in as the first change and a series of short of length deliveries proved to be of much respite for the England batsmen.
Harbhajan Singh was introduced early and immediately he induced an edge to slip off Trott only to fall short of Rahul Dravid.
Praveen Kumar in his second spell was not as impressive as his first and in order to swing the ball he pitched the ball outside leg stump only to be flicked around by Strauss and Trott.
Zaheer again provided the breakthrough just after lunch when Strauss 22 (83) failed to get on top of a short delivery ending with a miscued shot to fine leg. Ishant Sharma completed a rather simple catch.
Pieterson joined Trott in the middle building a partnership in the subdued second session. Trott who averages an impressive 62 in Tests did not have any problems facing the likes of Ishant and Praveen who were struggling in the second season to get any movement of the pitch.
Only Zaheer provided a tough challenge and he was nearly rewarded when a peach of a delivery kissed Trott’s bat but a golden chance was spilled by Dhoni and Dravid.
That was the last of Zaheer for the day as the seamer hobbled off with a hamstring injury in the middle of 13th over with an economy of 1.33.
It is a body blow for the Indian bowling attack which revolves around the left arm pacer. It would be interesting to see whether the injury is a minor scare or something very serious.
Jonathan Trott (58*) on the other hand continued his good form with the bat as he steadied the England innings with a gritty fifty along with Pieterson (22*) before bad light forced the umpires to take an early tea break and further incessant down pour meant that no play resumed after the tea break.