England v New Zealand: Hosts make slow progress in first Test
First Test, Lord's (day one, close):
England 160-4 v New Zealand
England battled to 160-4 as New Zealand enjoyed the better of an attritional opening day of the first Test at Lord's.
On a slow pitch - and an even slower outfield - England started in first gear and never got beyond second as the tourists' bowlers put in a disciplined performance after losing the toss.
Jonathan Trott made 39, captain Alastair Cook 32 off 115 balls and Ian Bell had laboured for 133 deliveries when he fell for 31 shortly before rain ended play 10 overs ahead of the scheduled close. Joe Root ended the day unbeaten on 25.
Test Match Special analysis
"I do not expect conditions to be much easier for batting on Friday and both teams are likely to find runs hard to come by, with the possible exception of New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum, who has the ability to come out and hit the ball hard.
"If the weather holds - and the forecast is improving all the time - this could turn out to be an exciting match. Just because only 160 runs have been scored, we should not give up on it."
Bruce Martin conceded just 37 runs in 24 overs but Trent Boult was the pick of the New Zealand bowlers as he claimed 2-29 from 17, his second wicket courtesy of an outstanding diving catch from Dean Brownlie to remove Trott.
In truth, Brownlie's athleticism in the slips was a rare highlight on a day that offered little to set the pulse racing at the start of an English summer featuring a Champions Trophy and an Ashes series against Australia.
Cook and Nick Compton set the tone with a cautious opening partnership, batting as if determined to right the wrongs of Dunedin in March when England were bundled out for 167 in 55 overs by the same opposition on the first day of a series that ended with the tourists clinging on for a 0-0 draw.
They put on 43 in 22 uneventful overs before Compton, advancing down the pitch, toe-ended left-arm spinner Martin to a diving Tim Southee at point.
It was a curiously out-of-character shot from the Somerset batsman, who scored back-to-back hundreds in the away series to lay down a strong claim to be Cook's opening partner for the Ashes.
New Zealand should have made a further breakthrough before lunch, only for Martin to spill a straightforward caught-and-bowled chance off Trott on nought with the first ball of his next over.
England v New Zealand
- 16-20 May: 1st Test, Lord's
- 24-28 May: 2nd Test, Headingley
- 31 May: 1st ODI, Lord's
- 2 June: 2nd ODI, Southampton
- 5 June: 3rd ODI, Trent Bridge
- 25 June: 1st T20, The Oval
- 27 June: 2nd T20, The Oval
New Zealand also play in the Champions Trophy from 6-23 June
Cook, captaining England in a home Test for the first time, never looked entirely comfortable and, after scoring only two in the half hour following lunch, he got half forward to an outswinger from Boult and edged through to wicketkeeper BJ Watling.
Trott found a more attacking groove after the interval as he took the lead role in a partnership with Bell, putting away the occasional loose ball from Martin and Neil Wagner through midwicket.
But, with tea approaching, he was squared up by Boult and brilliantly caught off a thick outside edge by Brownlie, diving to his left from third slip to pouch the ball just above the turf.
With the clouds darkening, Bell batted with even greater caution than those before him, playing an attacking shot only if the ball sat up and demanded it.
He and Root combined for 45 in almost 25 overs before Bell followed a ball angled across him by Wagner and nicked behind.
England's hopes of a sizeable first-innings score now appear to lie with the in-form Root, who has scored 646 runs in four innings this season, including 179 for England Lions against the tourists in Leicester last week.
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