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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 May 2007, 16:49 GMT 17:49 UK
First Test, day one as it happened
FIRST NPOWER TEST, LORD'S:
England 200-3 v West Indies (close)

Alastair Cook hit 102 not out, his fifth century in Tests, as England dominated on an overcast first day against West Indies to end it on 200-3.

Essex left-hander Cook, 22, was at his phlegmatic best, unruffled by the frequent interruptions for bad light.

He put on 88 for the first wicket with Andrew Strauss, 59 with Kevin Pietersen for the third and added further runs with Paul Collingwood late in the day.

Corey Collymore was the most impressive of the West Indies pace bowlers.

LATEST ACTION AS IT HAPPENS (ALL TIMES BST)

By Ben Dirs

606: DEBATE

e-mail tms@bbc.co.uk (with 'For Ben Dirs' in the subject) or use 606

ENGLAND FIRST INNINGS

CLOSE

1851: Umpire Rauf saunters to the middle, knocks off the bails and that's it for the day. A frustrating first day of the series, Alastair Cook's chunky little century aside. Thanks for reading and see you again tomorrow.

"Geoffrey Boycott is a man you'd want playing for your life. It would be along life...or a slow death..."
Alec Stewart on TMS

1837: The umpires are out again - not sure if the light's improved or not to be honest. We'll find out in a couple of minutes.

"Ben - if I said you were 22, would you put my comments up on the page more often?"
Matt, Chester, in the TMS inbox

1818: Both match umpires are back in the pavillion and the third umpire is now out in the middle with his light meter. This isn't looking good, I think it could be over for the day. The crowd is thinning out now, they obviously don't think there'll be much more, if any, play today.

"See? Get the public schoolboys back in the side and everything's back to ticketyboo. Alastair Cook is the perfect motivation for mums and dads to take a second job and send the boys off to St Jolly's. Tall, good looking, intelligent, articulate, brave, single-minded. Just like all of us types..."
Alan Orpin in the TMS inbox

1756: Sarah from Canterbury wants to know how old I am for some reason. How old do you reckon? God, this is a dangerous game...

Geoffrey Boycott
"I don't think cricket does itself any favours going off for light like this. I can understand it if there are some fast bowlers out there and someone's going to get hurt, but people pay a lot of money at Lord's..."
Geoffrey Boycott on TMS

1752: Smashing ball from Bravo, getting the ball to go up the hill and beat the well-set Cook. A maiden from Bravo and he looks like a bowler whose noggin will never go down. Rubbish news - players are off again because of bad light. Cooky gets a standing ovation as he disappears into the pavillion, Sarwan has a few words with umpire Koertzen. 200-3

"Aside from light and lasers, my last venture to the regional favourite, Dukes, was over 10 years ago. I realised at 1.30am, filled to the brim with K Cider, that I was dancing to Hi Ho Silver - that's right, the theme tune from Boon..."
Rob Maldonado, Marbella

He's reached 100
1744: That's Cook's fifth Test hundred courtesy of a punch into the covers - not bad for a 22-year-old. Cook now has four tons in first-class cricket at Lord's. Cook brings up England's 200 with another single and England are looking pretty well-set here. England 200-3

Tony Cozier
"Cook is only 22-years-old and England have a player they can look forward to watching for years to come..."
Tony Cozier in the TMS inbox

1742: Bravo drags one in short and Cook is onto it like a flash, carving it away to the point fence. Cook has a go at a wide one and at first it seems Ramdin has shelled a tricky one - but replays suggest he was nowhere near it. Get your head down, Cooky, and graft. Better from Cook, punching Bravo through mid-on for a couple to move to 96. Bravo sticks one in the blockhole and Cook pushes him through the covers for three. One short of his hundred, but he's on strike. 197-3

1736: Collingwood dabs Collymore down to deep backward-square for one. Collymore has a decent lbw shout turned down by umpire Koertzen - good decision, it was just going over. Cook looking nervy here 10 short of his ton. He has a woolly woosh at a wide one but does get one for a clip off his pads to keep the strike. 188-3

1733: News in that we've got another possible 29 overs after this one. Not sure how I feel about that. I suspect the dark clouds that are shrouding the ground will have something to say about that. Bravo drops short and Collingwood cuts him away for a couple. Chanderpaul it was with the stop on the boundary. Three more for Colly with a whip to backward-square. Colly on strike again - apparently Cooky has only faced three balls since the restart. 186-3

"Barry Dibden wooed his wife on Fray Bentos pies? I wonder if she is as robust as Ray Mears? Incidentally, did you know that Fray Bentos is actually a town in Uruguay where there was a big meat processing factory?"
Trent, Woking, in the TMS inbox

"The world famous Dukes light and laser show - now that was something that could have worked in this bad light!"
Andrew McKechnie in the TMS inbox

1724: Cook moves to 90 with a flick to mid-on. Bit of shape from Bravo away from the right-handed Collingwood and the batsman is beaten all ends up. Colly collects three with another punch through the covers. 180-3

"The bowling's improved dramatically as the day's gone on which shows you need some practice before you go into a first Test."
Mike Selvey on TMS

1718: Players are emerging again and we'll have play in a couple of minutes.

"Fray Bentos pies, now there's a blast from the past! I wooed my current wife on Fray Bentos pies and Findus crispy pancakes. Net result, 15 years happily married and she's not let me cook again since!"
Barry, Dibden Purlieu, in the TMS inbox

1714: I find that it's the small things that make me laugh most. I was on the Tube the other day with a mate and two tourists opposite us were pointing at the map discussing their route. Suddenly, one of them produced what looked like a pen from his pocket, extended it like a radio aerial and started tapping away at the map above our heads. I laughed and laughed and laughed. Not sure they found it as funny.

"Ray Mears and cockroaches are the only things that will survive in a post-apocalyptic nuclear wasteland. He will become their king. Fact."
Lewis, Leeds, in the TMS inbox

1706: Martin Johnson has emailed in to ask what a "half-bunger" and "full-bunger" is. A "half-bunger" is a half-volley and a "full-bunger" is a full-toss. Blame Australian cricket doyen Jim Maxwell...

1703: The umps have had a look at the light and Cook and Colly decide to leave the field. The West Indies players aren't too happy about it, and neither is the crowd - plenty of boos, and this is all a bit depressing.

1659: Cook scrambles a quick single following a push into the covers and nicks the bowling. Looking very gloomy again...175-3

1654: I don't want to jinx him, but Collingwood looks in pretty rare nick today. He gets up on his hind legs again and steers Collymore through point for another boundary. Cooky picks up a single with a flick off his pads. 174-3

"Ray Mears stays so robust by doing his grocery shopping in the Tunbridge Wells M&S. I've seen him. It's not just Swedish roots, it's Swedish roots smothered in brandy butter..."
Graham Thomas in the TMS inbox

1649: Some woman has just told CMJ on TMS that he sounds like the lovechild of a Dalek and Terry Thomas - cheeky mare. Colly gets up on his haunches and punches Bravo through the covers for a few. Colly, typically, wanted four, but Cooky was lounging slightly. England 168-3

"Ray Mears usually has a couple of Fray Bentos steak and kidney pies each night when he gets back to his five star hotel after filming."
Trent, Woking, in the TMS inbox

1647: Collingwood is next in and he's off the mark with a punch through long-on for a couple. England 165-3

Wicket falls
1643: WICKET - Pietersen c Smith b Collymore 26 (Eng 162-3)
KP is toast, slapping a juicy Collymore half-bunger straight to Smith at extra-cover. Not clever that from Pietersen, but seeing as he's Pietersen, I'll let him off...

1640: Cook and Pietersen are out in the middle and we're about to start again. Cooky gets a full-bunger from Bravo but is unable to put it away. We're on until 7 o'clock tonight, if the light holds out. Cook throws the kitchen sink at a wide one and the ball slices over the slip cordon and runs away for four. If you're gonna flash, flash hard.England 162-2

"Just been flicking through the channels for something to amuse myself and found Ray Mears scavenging and eating some strange Swedish roots. How does he stay so robust? If I ate nothing but roots I'd waste away to nothing."
Chris in the TMS inbox

1632: Right, they've just had umpire Koertzen on Sky and he says the light has improved and we'll be back on in five minutes.

"The light has improved significantly and we'll be back in the next five minutes..."
Umpire Koertzen

1627: Umpires Rauf and Koertzen have another look at the light and decide it's not good enough for play. Plenty of reaction to my Dukes reference earlier on. Exit Chelmsford station, do a left and trot down Duke Street for 30 yards. There, on your left, you will come upon one of the most extraordinary nightclubs on earth, let alone Essex. I once saw a man stripped naked, wrapped in clingfilm, smothered in whipped cream and thrown to a pack of howling women. It wasn't pretty - I was almost sick into my K Cider.

"Matthew from Sunderland (see below) is also a friend of mine and I can confirm that his general slovenliness does him no favours."
Marc Kelly in the TMS inbox

"I know Matthew from Sunderland and the reason he can't get into posh bars is his refusal to wear anything other than trainers on a night out."
Will, Newcastle, in the TMS inbox

1608: It's looking pretty murky out there now folks and the umpires have retired to their dressing room. I'm not certain we're going to get much more cricket here today. I'll keep you posted.

"Rob Maldonado (see below) is also an anagram of 'a bold doorman'. Is he the reason I can't get into posh bars?"
Matthew, Sunderland, in the TMS inbox

"When West Indies played Essex at Chelmsford a few years ago, they preferred the delights of Chicagos to Dukes. One of my housemates was kind enough to provide accomodation to one of their number. She hadn't a clue who he was, but it was something of a surprise to the rest of us when he joined us for breakfast."
Martyn Howarth in the TMS inbox

"So Barry Took is no longer with us - well, until today I thought that Dickie Bird had passed away several years ago. But my friend has just emailed me to say Dickie is sitting behind him in a corporate box, explaining to the assembled guests how Pimms is just a southern version of Vimto..."
Philip McDonald in the TMS inbox

1549: Her Maj is out in the middle and pressing some flesh. Good job Philip isn't shaking the England players' hands, he'd probably hear KP's accent and ask if he was playing for the right team.

"Rob Maldonado (see below), are you aware your name is an anagram of 'ABNORMAL DODO'? Just thought I would let you know."
Gumbo, Shenfield CC, in the TMS inbox

"I've ordered my tombstone, it says: 'Geoff Halford - best before (date)'."
Geoff Halford in the TMS inbox

"Ben, comparing KP to a Maserati is an insult to the legendary Italian marque. He's more like a Ford Sierra Cosworth: sharp away from the lights but completely lacking in style. I'd rather watch an elegant Michael Vaughan duck than a KP 50."
Nick Collins in the TMS inbox

"Not quite an epitaph, but we had a silver cricket bat trophy made for my grandad for his 80th birthday with the words '80 Not Out' on it. He died a couple of days beforehand aged 79. You could say it was tempting fate I suppose."
Matthew Unwin in the TMS inbox

1529: Blowers has revealed that players are taking an early tea at Lord's so I'm going to post a few of your emails and then retire for a gasper.

"If I was called Steven Organ (see below), I think I'd just go for 'here lie Steven's Organs'."
Phil Bowen in the TMS inbox

1520: Collymore does KP again - Pietersen has a wry smile, Collymore adopts the teapot. Pietersen moves to 26 with a single, stepping across his stumps and tickling the ball into the on-side. Her Majesty has taken her seat up in the Committee Room, alongside Prince Phil. Her Maj, resplendent in mauve, Phil wearing the old egg and bacon tie. Apparently Curtly Ambrose tried to hug the Queen when he met her! She would have been nuzzling his inner thigh. Lovely stuff. We're off for bad light! Sorry, that took me by surprise a bit - but it's looking pretty murky out there. England 158-2

"When did sharking become that? (as described by Mr Donnellan - see below)? I can't remember the last BBC documentary by David Attenborough that showed a shark videoing himself pulling down a girl's bikini."
Ryan Ibbotson in the TMS inbox

1517: All of a sudden the Lord's wicket is playing like a sticky in Dhaka. Cook has a go at an away-swinger from Bravo and misses. Not much scoring going on, it's almost ground to a halt. That World Cup was good, weren't it..? England 156-2

"I've just seen a helicopter flying past with the banner, 'kcas eht ni hsibbur si sriD'. Any ideas?"
Rob Maldonado, Marbella, in the TMS inbox

1510: Collymore squares KP up and almost gets a tickle. Playing on the walk, Pietersen, and he's lost his mojo momentarily. Pietersen is beaten again by an absolute jaffer from Collymore, the ball swinging away and deviating off the pitch. KP is beaten again and it's a sticky little period this for God. England 156-2

"On my tombstone, I'd have: 'Steven Organ Run Out', then my age."
Steven Organ in the TMS inbox

1505: Cook picks up one with a push into the covers. That's the 50 partnership and the sun is piercing through a slight tear in the clouds. Pietersen plays and misses at Bravo before slapping him through the off-side for a couple. Good stop from Smith to save four. KP bags another single with a skewed drive to point. England 156-2

"I remember many dark hours sharking in Dukes in Chelmsford - don't remember seeing Gayle there too often. Maybe he was out sharking at Sams in Brentwood, or perhaps TOTS 2000 in Southend?"
David in the TMS inbox

"Re. Barry Took being dead, I was sure Alan Whicker had been dead for ages and I got a nasty shock when he suddenly appeared in the Travelocity adverts a few years back."
Chris Kowal in the TMS inbox

1458: No, Mr Donnellan (see below), I wasn't aware that was the case. But then I was raised in more innocent times - what is wrong with this country?! It's like the last days of Sodom and Gomorrah. Peachy stroke from Cook, a square-drive for four. A wonderfully compact player, Cook - he is a Volvo estate to Pietersen's lunatic Maserati. England 151-2

"Is Mr Dirs aware that 'sharking' these days refers to running up to a lady and pulling down her top to reveal her bosom whilst filming it?"
Robert Donnellan, London

1452: Talking of death, if you were a cricketer, what would you have on your tombstone? I think I'd go for: "Benjamin Dirs: a superlative late cutter - and a wonderful lover." Cook gets one for a nurdle to mid-wicket. KP with some histrionics, yanking his bat miles over a delivery from Powell and pulling a full pirouette before dropping his bat in his crease. England 145-2

1448: Someone just told me Barry Took is dead! I was quite shocked, until I looked him up on Wikipedia and discovered he passed in 2002. Bravo sends down a maiden over, just the one leg-bye from it. England 144-2

"I assume you just referred to KP as God. Don't you know that Michael Vaughan is God? Did you not hear what he had to say about the Ashes? Apparently we could have won if we'd asked him for help. He (at least) clearly thinks he has supernatural powers."
JJ Foy in the TMS inbox

1445: Thank you to everyone who has emailed in to explain that Imogen (see below) was in fact reading the helicopter banner backwards. I can't be certain, but I'm pretty sure she was pulling your plonkers.

"Learn how to drive with Alastair Cook? (see below) What next, home decorating with Andrew Strauss?"
Andy White in the TMS inbox

1440: Gayle looking as chilled as ever at first slip, leaning on one leg between deliveries and surveying the scene as if he's sharking for women at Duke's in Chelmsford. Cook savages Powell, leaning back and carving him through point for four before timing him through extra-cover for three. Drinks. England 143-2

"I think there have been more short and wide deliveries today than we saw from Australia in the whole of the Ashes series..."
Mike Selvey in the TMS inbox

1433: Powell finds Pietersen's edge and the ball drops just short of Gayle at first slip. KP looking to play one of his stick shots, a clip through mid-wicket. But that's another dreamy stroke from Pietersen, flaying Powell through the covers for another boundary. God is flying, he's 21 after just 16 deliveries. England 135-2

1428: Bravo is into the attack and Pietersen stands tall and punches him through the covers for three. Lovely shot that, and KP looks in tip-top nick. A couple for Cook with a nudge to fine-leg. England 130-2

"Just seen a helicopter fly past our office dragging the banner "tekcirc fo emoh eht - S'DROL" Any idea?"
Imogen in the TMS inbox

1422: Pietersen picks up another boundary with a square-drive off Powell and then gives his gammy calf a bit of a test-out with a sharp single. Cook picks up a couple with a paddle - you can learn to drive with the prolific Essex opener by clicking on the adjacent link. Oh I say, that's a dreamy stroke from KP, sauntering down the pitch to Powell and timing him through extra-cover for four. England 125-2

1418: Bread and butter for Pietersen, Collymore straying onto his stumps and KP whipping him away for four. Colly then gets the hump and shies at KP's stumps, hitting the Big Man on the boot. Pietersen grins back at Colly, as if to say, "what are you doing, you silly little man...?" Cooky moves to 60 with a carve through the covers for four. England 113-2

1413: Sketchy old start from Pietersen, attempting a drive and the ball ricocheting off his pad for a single. That's the end of Powell's over, and he's bowling nicely in this spell. England 104-2

Wicket falls
1412: WICKET - Shah c Smith b Powell 6 (Eng 103-2) Cook rocks back to Powell and cuts him away for one. Shah is all at sea here and batting like Mr Magoo. He has a wild and windy woosh and misses...and is out next ball, Powell squaring him up, finding his edge and Smith taking a regulation catch at third slip. Mustn't grumble, here comes KP...

1407: Shah picks up his first boundary with a rather ugly swipe, the face of the bat closing but the ball disappearing over the extra-cover rope. That's the England ton and it's a good start - they'll want at least 400 from here. 102-1

"I bowled with tripe once, it was an offal over - got panned!"
David Couchman in the TMS inbox

1403: Shah has scored 380 at an average of 95 for Middlesex this season, so he's in pretty good nick. Bit of Keystone Kops stuff, Shah scampering to make his ground and getting a cherry in the back of the neck from Taylor. The physio pays a fleeting visit, but Owais is OK after a bit of a rub and is off the mark with a thick outside edge for a couple. Extravagant leave from Shah, shaping to marmalise Powell through extra-cover before pulling out of the shot with a flourish. England 97-1

That's 50
1357: That's Cook's fifty, his fourth in Tests. It comes up courtesy of a clip through mid-wicket, four all-run. A rather modest twirl of the bat from Cook, and Blowers and Boycs are both impressed that he acknowldges the whole crowd, rather than just his team-mates up on the balcony. Shah's batting in diving boots at the moment. Collymore finds his edge, but the ball falls short of the slips. England 94-1

"I work in a call centre and we are playing cricket with a ruler, stress ball and an empty water bottle for stumps. However, we need a new ball - our performance in the World Cup has left it sort of baby potato-shaped."
Craig Allin in the TMS inbox

"Nauseating half-wit? Buffoon? Clown? Where is the imagination? Ben Dirs, you are plainly nothing more than a lackwit bumpkin."
Adam Miller in the TMS inbox

1354: Shah, on his home ground, is next up the ramp. He did hold the record for the Englishman to have played one Test with the highest score - 88 against India in 2006. He has a tentative poke at his first ball and misses but safely negotiates the rest of the over. England 88-1

Wicket falls
1350: WICKET - Strauss c Smith b Powell 33 (Eng 88-1)
West Indies have the breakthrough, and that's a pretty poor shot from Strauss, leaning back and skewing the ball straight to Smith at backward point. The England skipper will be furious with that, it was all looking very easy.

1348: Collymore drops short and Strauss misses out with a square cut. But Strauss does pick up one with a flip off his pads. Strange bowler Collymore - he glides into the crease like Courtney Walsh and releases the ball like Dermot Reeve. Cook picks up a single with a nibble to square-leg. England 88-0

Geoffrey Boycott
"We've seen lots of people come to Lord's for the first time and bowl like tripe. They just can't cope with the slope."
Geoffrey Boycott on TMS

1344: We're back out after lunch and Sir Geoffrey of Boycottshire is into the TMS attack. In the first 30 seconds we learn that the World Cup was "absolutely dire" and that the West Indies have bowled "like drips". I salute you, sir. Powell to have first bung after lunch and it's a maiden. England 85-0

LUNCH

"In our office we've just discovered that if you tap a ball-point pen against a PC monitor (not a flat screen one), you can get an excellent rendition of the Test Match Special theme."
Tim Bailey in the TMS inbox

Former England captain Alec Stewart will be giving his views on England's new wicket-keeper Matt Prior on our Test Match Special blog during the lunch interval. Why don't you pop across to http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/tms/ take a look and let Alec know what you think.

"Here in Dubai it's a clammy 40C, although we get to leave work in about an hour, head to a beach bar, and watch the rest of the day's play. And on the subject of daft nicknames, do you have one for Shah yet? Surely some sort of 'Oasis' gag? I can't think, it's too hot."
Rick in TMS inbox

1302: Bit of a nibble for West Indies, Strauss edging, but the ball falling just short of Gayle at first slip and Morton diving across from second. That's lunch and it's been a belter of a morning for England. Cook on 47 and Strauss 31. Back in 40 minutes. England 85-0

Colin Croft
"You've got to try all the bowlers you've got. It's OK to have a plan, but when that plan doesn't work, you've got to have a new plan."
Colin Croft on TMS

1255: First crowd shot of the day - the English cameramen aren't as keen on the ladies as their West Indies counterparts. There's Dickie Bird ranting and raving in his egg and bacon tie, and there's Trevor McDonald, a passionate West Indies fan, looking pensive. Cook plays an odd little stroke, guiding Taylor through gully for four, and moves to 47. We'll get one more over before lunch. England 85-0

"I don't mind lending the Windies the benefit of my experience. I claimed the scalp of Andrew Strauss playing for Hampshire U19s v Oxon U19s with a filthy long hop he larruped straight to mid wicket. Easy!"
Dave 'Harmy' Thomas in the TMS inbox

1248: A couple for Cook with yet another clip to mid-wicket. Vaughan is lurking in the dressing room gloom like some mad woman spying into her next door neighbours' garden. Strauss squeezes an attempted yorker down to the third-man fence for four. England 80-0

"Due to some sort of bank holiday, our German office is closed today and myself and two colleagues are sitting in a Hamburg hotel bar working, listening to Five Live over the internet and watching live text. Just for a fleeting moment, there is a corner of this bar, which seems to be made entirely of formica and wicker, that is forever England!"
Simon James in the TMS inbox

1246: Just too straight from the Windies bowlers and Strauss grabs two more with a nurdle to leg. Collymore does find the edge of Strauss' wand...but the ball falls just short of Smith at second slip. He strikes me as one of life's unlucky bowlers, Collymore. England 73-0

1242: Two runs for Cook, an ease into the covers, before he picks up another couple with a clip to mid-wicket. The Essex opener then gets up on his haunches and forces Taylor away for two more before slapping Taylor through extra-cover for four. Easy-peasy this for Cook, and the bad news for the tourists is that the sun is beating down and giving the pitch a cooking. England 65-0

"Ben, you've been called a lot of things in your time but a 'nauseating half-wit' is up there with the best of them. I'm a little surprised the aggrieved individual didn't throw in other choice terms such as 'buffoon' and 'clown'!"
Luke Jarvis in the TMS inbox

1237: Strauss gets caught between two stools, attempting to pull a ball a couple of feet outside off-stump when perhaps he should have cut. A touch of the Alec Stewarts about that shot. 55-0

"England are scoring quicker than some of their World Cup games! I thought in a Test Match the run rate was meant to be lower? Presumably all will change when Vaughan returns from injury."
Ian Bruce in the TMS inbox

1233: Risky leave from Cook, the ball just missing his off-stump. Three singles from the over. 55-0

1229: Collymore really struggling with his line and just not asking any questions. For Cook and Strauss, who found life so tough in Australia during the Ashes, this must be like going straight from an exam in theoretical physics to sitting a times-table test. 52-0

1225: That's England's 50 courtesy of a clip to mid-wicket for a couple by Cook. Almost full now at Lord's and the murmur is threatening to turn into a buzz. And when there's a buzz at Lord's, the security folk start getting a bit twitchy. A 'buzz' at Lord's is the equivalent to a full-scale riot at an American music festival. England 52-0

1220: Kiss my face! An absolute lip-smacking shot from Strauss, a straight drive for four. England 49-0

"Nice to see Collymore on English soil once again. He seems to be a prodigious talent but has trouble keeping it all in check. He could really be world-class if he managed to pull it all together. I wonder if he regrets leaving Forest?"
Neil, Swindon, in the TMS inbox

1215: Powell drags one in short and wide and Cook, in that unfussy way of his, yanks him away for four. Indeed, if Cook was a cook, he'd definitely be a no-nonsense Delia Smith rather than an "ooh, look at me" Heston Blumenthal. Eleven overs gone, England looking very comfortable now. England 45-0

1212: Collymore strays onto middle and leg - Cooky likes it there and clips him away for a couple. Rank long-hop from Collymore and Cook larrups it through point for four. That ball was the cricketing equivalent of a double coned 99 with two flakes in it and nuts sprinkled on top. Blue sky at Lord's! Peche de la peche...England 39-0

1206: Cook is beaten by Powell outside off-stump before the Essex man picks up a couple with a push through mid-off to move to 10. The 'Lord's murmur' is picking up, but we're still not full. Cook grabs one with a nudge to point. England 32-0

"A crow in a crowd is a rook, and a rook on its own is a crow!" That's the saying as I learnt it years ago, but have since found out it is far from reliable!"
Barbara Carver, Nottinghamshire, in the TMS inbox

1203: Collymore is into the attack and Strauss carves him away for four. Good comeback from Collymore, Strauss fencing at one and missing. Sweet timing from Strauss and he picks up a couple through mid-off. England 29-0

Colin Croft
"Henry Blofeld has gone off for one of the earliest lunches I can remember in the first Test in May..."
Jonathan Agnew on TMS

1158: Cook plays and misses, the ball pitching and running down the slope. Watching Test cricket again is like slipping into a Penguin Classic after seven weeks locked in a room with only the entire back catalogue of Nuts magazine to read. Actually, that's doing a disservice to Nuts - at least it provides some mild titillation, whereas the most excited I got during the World Cup was when a cleaner accidentally brushed my thigh with her tickling stick. Cook flips Powell off his hips for a couple. England cruising to be fair. England 23-0

1155: A strangled lbw appeal by Taylor against Strauss before the Middlesex opener plays his first attacking stroke of the day, a pull for four. A half-bunger on leg-stump next up and Strauss fills his boots again, clipping him away for another boundary. England 21-0

1149: Sketchy running from England - plenty of "yes, no, wait" - but Strauss just manages to make his ground and Cook picks up a single. It's all got a bit murky all of a sudden, shame to say. Powell drops short and Strauss slaps him into the covers for one. England 13-0

"Ben, regarding your previous statement that your nan died 38 times while at university, whilst at university, I had seven grandads, all of whom sadly passed away."
Miles Chadwick in the TMS inbox

1144: Taylor strays onto Cook's legs and that's four leg-byes for England. Another couple for Cook with a whip to mid-wicket before Ganga pulls off a sharp piece of fielding at short-leg. More leg-peg stuff from Taylor and Cook clips him down to fine-leg for one. A few complaints about our use of nicknames (see below). It's not very BBC and I can only apologise. I mean, what would Johnners think? Or Aggers, or Blowers, or, indeed, the Bearded Wonder? Anyway, here comes Taylor into bowl and Lord Brocket very nearly plays on when pulling his bat out of the way at the last minute. England 11-0

"It's like a TMS I Spy. We've already had the plane, the pigeon and the most enthusiastic description of a crane I've ever heard. Painting pictures with words!" TR on 606

1142: Cook picks up one for a leg-glance and Powell is struggling with the famous Lord's slope at the moment. Pretty comfortable so far for the England openers. England 4-0

"Why do the BBC insist on using nicknames for every sportsman nowadays? During the World Cup, it was frankly infuriating to hear Ben Dirs and the other nauseating half-wits calling every player in the tournament by a quirky name."
Thegreatape in the TMS inbox

1138: Cook picks up the first run of the series, paddling Taylor round the corner for one. West Indies have a short-leg in, Ganga it is who's been thrown the lid. Dear old Blowers has spotted his first crow...no, it's a rook...of the season. "It can't be a pigeon because it's flopping" says Henry. Full-bunger from Taylor and Strauss steers him through mid-wicket for a couple. England 3-0

"Its the start of the Test Match season when our office whips out the tape ball and broom handle, starts the traditional office one hand, one bounce game and all get verbal warnings because of it. Awesome. The summer hath cometh."
Miles Chadwick in the TMS inbox

1133: Umpire Koertzen is at the bowler's end and in comes Powell...his first delivery strikes Strauss on the pad outside leg-peg. Not much movement for Powell, his first three balls are gun-barrel straight. That said, he gets one to jag away and beat Strauss before Strauss leaves one that comes back the other way and just shaves his off-stump. Maiden over to start. England 0-0


1128: Right, the Windies are out and we're ready to roll. Let's have it. Here come Strauss and Cooky, Strauss whirling his bat furiously like a Japanese Samurai twirling his sword.

1125: The last time West Indies won the toss and put England into bat at Lord's, England racked up 568 in their first innings and won by 210 runs. That said, I think the headline in the Sun on that first day was "Phew, what a scorcher!"

"Monty's inclusion is not a strange decision. A team should never, ever go into a Test match without a quality spinner if one is available. One should always be playing, whatever the conditions!"
Adam Fogarty in the TMS inbox

"Oh what a beautiful day. I know it's raining, but don't you just love it when the Test matches start again? So many ponderables."
EM on 606

1115: Latest news is that the action will start at 1130. It's pretty bright now overhead at Lord's, but there's plenty of dark cloud billowing in from the west. We could be in for a stop-start day.

"I understand why Jonathan Agnew is surprised about Panesar, but since his Test debut, he's consistently been England's best or second best bowler, regardless of conditions (Perth and Headingley spring to mind). I think it's a wise decision, and it actually bolsters the batting! Who'd have thought we'd say that 18 months ago?"
Paul Bailey in the TMS inbox

"Have the selectors seen something in the pitch that we don't know about? A green top under heavy cloud cover and Monty plays instead of a fourth seamer? Strange decision."
William Benson in the TMS inbox

1109: The sheets are coming off at Lord's and the water is being swept from the pitch. I reckon we'll have a start in about 10-15 minutes so stand by your beds.

1104: Runako Morton is in the West Indies line-up and he's got what you might call a "colourful past". In 2002, he was suspended and fined 10% of his tour fee after it transpired he had left the ICC Champions' Trophy in Sri Lanka after claiming his gran had just died. It later emerged that one had been dead for 16 years, and the other was slaving over a stove in Nevis. My nan died about 38 times when I was at university, usually a couple of days before an essay was due.

"Runako Morton is one of my favourite cricketers. He's very enthusiastic and aggressive. He doesn't have all the finesse, but he's never scared."
Colin Croft on TMS

1100: News is that we have a typical start to an English Test season - bit of weather about at Lord's, covers are on and we will not be kicking off at 1100. I'll keep you posted.

"It is trying to brighten up, but even when it does it will be humid and steamy and I'm surprised they've gone with Panesar."
Jonathan Agnew on TMS

England: A J Strauss (Capt), A N Cook, I R Bell, K P Pietersen, P D Collingwood, O A Shah, M J Prior (Wkt), L E Plunkett, S J Harmison, M J Hoggard, M S Panesar.

West Indies: C H Gayle, D Ganga, D S Smith, R R Sarwan (Capt), S Chanderpaul, R S Morton, D J Bravo, D Ramdin (Wkt), D B Powell, C D Collymore, J E Taylor.

1052: Bad news folks - the covers are back on and it looks like the start will be delayed...

"This West Indies team isn't half as scary as it use to be! Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook should be counting their lucky stars that they weren't around 10-20 years ago! The bowlers they had in them days were scarier than my grandma's cooking!"
Ryan Brook in the TMS inbox

"I'm in Russell Square and its belting it down. If they do get off in time, they won't be on for long..."
Ben Cocker in the TMS inbox

1039: Shah will be batting at three and Bell at six for England. Of course, that's where Bell scored all his runs against Pakistan last summer, so it's not that big a surprise to be honest.

1032: Ramnaresh Sarwan has won the toss and the Windies are going to have first go with the ball. The coin was an 1787 shilling - the year that the MCC was founded. Covers are off and we are due to start bang on time. My colleague tells me Lord's has "the best drainage of any pitch in the northern hemisphere". Weirdo. It is confirmed that Jimmy Anderson has been discarded and Monty will play.

1029: The toss is due at 1030. The headline news is that Freddie Flintoff is injured and won't play, which means Owais Shah will probably play on his home ground. I have heard a rumour on Cricinfo that James Anderson is back on the M6 and on his way back to Manchester, which means Monty is set to play. Like the way I've blamed it on Cricinfo if that's not the case?

1025: Aaah, the English summer. The sound of leather on willow, the smell of freshly cut grass. Village folk dancing round the Maypole, attractive ladies in strappy tops, aggressive looking men with their shirts off drinking strong lager in town centres. Finding yourself nuzzling an unwashed armpit on the Tube in 50C heat. It's going to be another belter ladies and gents.

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