England v New Zealand, 1st Test: Day 1 Report
by Andy Jalil

Ground:Lord's Cricket Ground, St John's Wood
Scorecard:England v New Zealand
Event:New Zealand in England 2015

DateLine: 21st May 2015


By Andy Jalil at Lordís In association with INVESTEC


Andy Jalil - Cricket Writer and Commentator
Andy Jalil at Lord's
In association with INVESTEC


England make good recovery after early losses


England, who had suffered the trauma of losing four wickets for just 30 in the first twelve overs of the opening Test match of the summer, against New Zealand, were restored to a position of some strength with a marvellous stand of 161 between Joe Root and Ben Stokes. They took control from the start of their partnership, batting with confidence on a pitch with a tinge of green on it. At stumps, England were 354 for seven with Moeen Ali unbeaten on 49.


Just when New Zealand had reason to believe that they were on the way to bringing about a paltry England first innings total, Root and Stokes changed the England batting pattern of the first session of play. Englandís batting slide began with Adam Lyth making a disappointing debut, getting a slight outside edge to Tim Southee on seven and then they lost two wickets on 25. Gary Ballance got a thick outside edge for a low catch at third slip and Alastair Cook top-edged his pull behind the stumps.


It was after Ian Bell was bowled by Matt Henry by an beautiful ball that moved away late to hit top of off stump and England, having been asked to bat first, had lost four for 30 that Stokes joined Root and they began the recovery. Despite their sidesí precarious situation, they both played shots quite freely, neither was over cautious. Having taken two fours in an over off Tim Southee, Stokes took two more in the next over off Boult to get to 23.


Root took his score to 48 with three fours in an over off Mark Craig with a full range of strokes, a pull first followed by a square cut and a lovely drive off the back foot. At lunch England were 113 for four and in the second over after the break Root brought up his tenth Test half century from 53 balls with eight fours remaining unperturbed by New Zealandís excellent start. Stokes wasnít far behind, his second test fifty took 55 balls with nine fours.


At the start of the second session Stokes went along speedily while Root slowed down. The second session had been slower with 106 runs coming from 29 overs compared with 113 from 26 in the morning. A cover drive off Southee for four followed by an on drive in the next over off Matt Henry took Stokes to 61. He then hit two fours and a six off the same bowler in one over with the help of a cover drive and two pull shots to get to 79.


The 150 of the stand came with Stokes reaching 89 with his 15th four but three runs later he was bowled by Mark Craig having faced 94 balls. It was an arm ball which he expected to spin away from him. Root went on to add 60 for the next wicket with Buttler but on the total of 251 New Zealand struck again with Root attempting to cut Henry without much foot movement and top edging his shot into the wicketkeeper Tom Lathamís gloves. Latham had replaced Watling who had suffered a knee injury and didnít take the field after lunch.


Mooen, who would normally bat above Buttler and perhaps even Stokes came in at No. 8 and another useful partnership developed. Buttler scored steadily taking his total to 40 with a pull off Craig to long leg for four and the 50 of their stand came from 54 balls. His individual half century soon followed off 95 balls as he continued to revive the England innings with Moeen who played some stylish shots. But with the last ball of the day, Trent Boult accounted for Buttlerís wicket, trapping him in front of the stumps for 67, having compiled carefully over three hours from 126 balls.


(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2015 Andy Jalil)


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