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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 July 2007, 18:02 GMT 19:02 UK
Late wickets spoil England's day
By Paresh Soni

First Test, Lord's, day one (close): England 268-4 v India

Andrew Strauss
Strauss fell just short of his first Test century for 11 months.
Two late wickets took the gloss off a good opening day for England in the first Test against India at Lord's.

Andrew Strauss (96) put on 76 with Alastair Cook (36) and 142 with captain Michael Vaughan (79) as they punished some wayward bowling from the tourists.

But Anil Kumble, who had Strauss caught at slip earlier, got Paul Collingwood lbw and Vaughan edged RP Singh behind.

Kevin Pietersen rode his luck to make 34 as England closed on 268-4 after the third and final stoppage for bad light.

It was quite a turnaround for India, who had struggled to cope with the famous Lord's slope and failed to take advantage of the seam and swing movement on offer after Vaughan won the toss.

England, who gave Hampshire seamer Chris Tremlett a Test debut after Matthew Hoggard pulled out with a back problem, went into the game with their most inexperienced pace attack - with a combined 37 Test caps - since the 2001 Ashes.

They put their feet up and watched Sree Santh and Zaheer Khan unleash a succession of deliveries which were too full and straight.

606: DEBATE

Cook, whose career has blossomed since making his debut in India last year, again looked composed, while Strauss was allowed to ease himself back into form as 40 were racked up in the first five overs.

India skipper Rahul Dravid was struggling with his field placings and turned to his predecessor Sourav Ganguly almost in desperation.

It worked immediately, with Cook lbw to his fourth ball, but Vaughan quickly dispatched Ganguly for sumptuous drives straight down the ground, through the covers and mid-wicket to take England past 100 in only 92 minutes.

India could still have salvaged the morning had Dinesh Karthik, a wicket-keeper by trade, not made a hash of a straightforward opportunity at point when Strauss square-drove Santh on 43.

Anil Kumble struck twice to help India fight back
Kumble struck twice to help India fight back late in the day

The scoring slowed down against tighter bowling after lunch, with Santh completing a sequence of six successive maidens, and it took Vaughan 24 minutes to add to his score.

It was not long before the bowlers began to stray again, however, and Strauss duly reached 50 - only his third in 18 Test innings - off 109 deliveries while the skipper got there in 118.

Ganguly did cause Vaughan several problems, particularly when he got a leading edge which nearly carried to mid-wicket, and Strauss was fortunate to see a top-edged sweep off Kumble land safely.

But things were very much going to plan and a limp effort from Ganguly on the backward square-leg boundary when Strauss flicked a Santh full-toss summed up the lack of visible fight in the tourists.

However, shortly after Strauss had glanced Kumble down to fine-leg to move to 96, they had the boost of a second wicket.

The Middlesex star, who last reached three figures in a Test against Pakistan 11 months ago, charged down the wicket to the leg-spinner but succeeded only in edging to the reliable Dravid at first slip.

Vaughan was undeterred and flicked Sreesanth down to fine-leg before on-driving Kumble for two more boundaries before the darkening skies forced a 50-minute delay.

Pietersen was troubled by Kumble either side of the second stoppage but unfurled a glorious cover drive off RP Singh at the start of the final mini-session to signal his intent.

The damage was done at the other end, though, as Vaughan nibbled at one outside off-stump while Collingwood was undone by a Kumble googly for his first ever Test duck.

Pietersen nearly played on to RP Singh in a frantic finale and when the third and final offer of light was made it was England's batsmen who walked off relieved.

SEE ALSO
England wait on injured Hoggard
19 Jul 07 |  England
Zaheer's second lease of life
17 Jul 07 |  India
India in England 2007
08 Jan 07 |  Cricket


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