Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Trott Hits a Half Century Giving India More Cause for Concern

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Trott Hits a Half Century Giving India More Cause for Concern

Article excerpt

Byline: Tom Collomosse Cricket Correspondent at Lord's

ANDREW STRAUSS and Alastair Cook both fell to Zaheer Khan before the paceman suffered an injury scare during a fascinating opening tussle between England and India here today.

Cook was dismissed leg-before to Zaheer for 12 during the morning session, the first time the opener had failed to reach 50 in an innings since the Third Ashes Test in Perth last December.

And after a patient knock that lasted 107 minutes, Strauss showed a lack of judgment shortly after lunch, a topedged pull off Zaheer flying straight to Ishant Sharma at long leg.

Zaheer was showing superb control, at one point bowling four successive maidens, a spell that included the wicket of Strauss, but he gave his team a huge concern when he pulled up with what looked like a hamstring problem three balls into his 14th over. Zaheer headed straight to the pavilion, meaning Praveen Kumar had to complete the over and leaving India anxious about the fitness of their best bowler.

It was a tough morning for England, who were put in to bat in favourable bowling conditions. Jonathan Trott enjoyed some luck but was still there as he reached his half century 40 minutes before tea. Kevin Pietersen was 21 not out and England reached 117 for two.

Trott had already been let off twice before lunch when, on 32, he was squared up by Zaheer but neither wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni nor first slip Rahul Dravid managed to collect the edge.

Pietersen looked uncomfortable during his spell at the crease. His timing was awry and he looked fidgety in his stance. England would have been hoping he could rediscover his fluency early in the series as he remains capable of destroying bowling attacks.

This was a landmark occasion: the 2,000th Test, the 100th between England and India, and -- potentially -- the match in which Sachin Tendulkar completes a century of international hundreds. With both sides competing for top spot in the Test rankings, England know they will have to do their utmost to prevent Tendulkar reaching that milestone this summer.

If England win the four-match series by at least two clear Tests, they will replace India at the top of the standings -- the goal set out by Strauss and coach Andy Flower when they took charge of the team early in 2009. Despite his poor form in the Test and limited-overs matches against Sri Lanka, Stuart Broad retained his place in the team ahead of Tim Bresnan. For India, Praveen was preferred to Shanthakumaran Sreesanth as the third seamer, and with Virender Sehwag still recovering from the shoulder surgery that is also likely to keep him out of next week's Second Test at Trent Bridge, Abhinav Mukund was named Gautam Gambhir's opening partner.

The reasons behind Dhoni's decision to bowl first were apparent immediately, as Zaheer and Praveen found plenty of movement through the air under grey skies. …

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