AR Hemant

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Somewhat of a contrarion.

Live Blog: England vs India, Day 1, Lord’s

(Note to readers: we will post live match updates, analysis and expert views through the course of the Lord's Test match. New updates will appear on top. Please hit the refresh button periodically.)

10.55 pm - Just when the Indian team came out for the restart, it started drizzling again. Day 1 comes to an end. England remain 127-2. The forecast for tomorrow and Saturday isn't encouraging, with more rain predicted. Pray the clouds stay away. Till then, goodnight.

More Coverage: Match Report | Day's pictures | Scores

9 pm - It's raining on Lord's. We'd be lucky to get another over out of the day. No word on Zaheer's injury yet. He left the field clutching the back of his knee.

Zaheer walks off the ground after a problem with his hamstring. Zaheer walks off the ground after a problem with his hamstring.

Zaheer walks off the ground after a problem with his hamstring.

8.20 pm - Pietersen gets beaten by an out-swinger by Ishant. The lights are on. Pietersen makes a wide-eyed expression indicating he had trouble seeing that ball. The umpires have a talk and play is halted for the moment. There are dark clouds above Lord's and an early tea has been taken. India can reflect on their missed chances. England are at a comfortable 127-2 in the 50th over.

7.40 pm - For the fielder with the most Test catches and the wicketkeeper who'd soon have more Test dismissals than any Indian, Dravid and Dhoni have been surprisingly poor in recent times.

In the West Indies, Dhoni put down at least four chances. Dravid too dropped a couple there. Those blows were softened by India's strong position. No such luck today. Dravid has missed Trott twice — the second one thanks to Dhoni.

Sunil Gavaskar commented that India's slip fielders should be standing a couple of paces up. Harbhajan's first ball, which Trott edged to slip, went shin-height to Dravid.

Then, Zaheer produced an outside edge out of nowhere in a dreary noon session. Dhoni went for it, blinded Dravid, and then bailed out as the ball dipped on Dravid and eluded him.

To make matters worse for India, Zaheer has now pulled up and gone off the field. Trott has passed 50. And while Kevin Pietersen has struggled so far, India don't seem to have enough ammo to dislodge the two in Zaheer's absence.

6.44 pm - Note to MRF: This is a blimp. That is just a big balloon. Not a blimp. Just a balloon. Balloons fascinate only pre-teens. Not us. Spare us. Please.

Speaking of pre-teens, here's Arjun Tendulkar in action.

Ishant catches Strauss at fine-leg. Ishant catches Strauss at fine-leg.

Ishant catches Strauss at fine-leg.

6.27 pm - In the Lord's Test against Sri Lanka, Strauss was dismissed LBW twice by Chanaka Welegedera. In-swinger in the first innings, out-swinger in the next.

Nasser Hussain painstakingly explains — via this nice infographic on Daily Mail — how Strauss faces mid-on while playing the left-armer over the wicket. It makes him vulnerable outside the off-stump.

As a result, he has fallen 23 times to left-arm pacers in Tests. Zaheer was trying to use the slope to bend the ball back into Strauss. But in the end, it was the bouncer that did the trick.

Strauss was already on the front-foot when Zaheer surprised him with his first bouncer of the day. Strauss fetched it from outside the off-stump and only managed to sky it to fine-leg. It's the sixth time Zaheer has got him in Tests.

6.10 pm - For those not familiar with the famous slope at the Lord's Cricket Ground, here's a nice fan picture which captures it.

The famous Lord's slope. The famous Lord's slope.

The famous Lord's slope. Credit: @vampire_pro

Here's Henry Blofeld writing about it in 2004:

The natural slope at Lord's, which falls about seven feet from the north-west corner of the ground to the Tavern boundary in the south-east corner, has always caused severe problems for unsuspecting players. Unwary and inexperienced fast bowlers can find that it plays havoc with their rhythm as they run in down the slope or up against the slope from the Pavilion End.

6 pm - Andrew Flintoff on Twitter: Going to be a long day for India in the field @VaughanCricket serves them right for being negative and bowling! It seems Fletcher has had a re think about pace bowlers @VaughanCricket he's got Ganguly opening the bowling!

Zaheer dismisses Cook. Zaheer dismisses Cook.

Zaheer dismisses Cook.

5.45 pm - At lunch, England are 43-1 in 21 overs. You could say the game hasn't moved forward. Part of it could be attributed to a short length India's pacers bowled which Strauss comfortably left alone. Part of it, to a dropped catch of Trott and a missed run-out of Strauss.

A fuller length could have produced a few more strokes, possibly a few more edges. It's a trade-off between runs and wickets. Which one would you pick? 43-1 or 80-3?

5.15 pm - Ishant has replaced Zaheer from the Press Box end and has got his length all wrong. This is a slow pitch with low bounce. A graphic shows he has bowled only 12% full deliveries and 63% short. He is trying to use the slope to assist his natural in-coming ball to the right-hander but the length needs to be fuller on this wicket.

Wasim Akram is not impressed with Zaheer and Praveen's sluggish start. On the first day of an important series, they should have been warmed up and charging in, he says.

Praveen finishes a tidy first spell of 9-4-18-0. Harbhajan comes on, and Dravid puts down Trott at first slip. Strauss has moved to 19 off 64 and the session seems to be tottering towards a quiet finish.

4.52 pm - Jonathan Trott, the run machine, is in. His last few Test series: 267 runs against Sri Lanka at an average of 66.75; 445 in the Ashes at 89.00; 404 at 67.33 against Pakistan; 265 at 132.50 against Bangladesh. Good luck dismissing him.

4.45 pm: Strauss has been lucky. A couple of edges off Zaheer have streaked past his off-stump. Harbhajan missed a chance to run him out. Zaheer and Praveen have been on the spot so far, but haven't been able to produce an edge to the two slips and two gullies. Praveen has been moving it away from the left-handers so far but hasn't got them to drive.

Nasser Hussain says this is a change for Duncan Fletcher, who favoured express pacers when he was England's coach. Here India have begun with two swing bowlers.

As this is being written, Zaheer finally bends one into Cook. LBW shout. Asad Rauf raises the finger. There's no referral for LBWs in this series. But it wouldn't have been necessary for this decision. Replays confirm it was a clean decision.

4.22 pm: The first ball of the series.

4:04 pm: Left out of this match, Sreesanth has turned philosophical on Twitter. His last two tweets:

  1. Best thing about the worst time of your life is that you get to see the true colours of everyone you cared for
  2. It's better to have played with fire and got burned, then to have loved and lost.

I'm sorry. The last one makes no sense.

Meanwhile, Zaheer bowls the first over to Strauss, beats him first ball outside the off-stump. Not a lot of bounce. Gives him nothing to drive. Praveen too beats Alastair Cook first ball. David Lloyd says his steady medium pace is best suited to these swinging, seaming conditions.

MS Dhoni and Andrew Strauss with the Npower Trophy.

3:30 pm MS Dhoni wins the toss for India and keeping in mind the overcast conditions, asks England to bat. India's XI is on expected lines - Suresh Raina gets picked over Yuvraj and the others who miss out are Sreesanth, Munaf Patel, Amit Mishra and Wriddhiman Saha.

3:25 pm An on again off again drizzle has delayed the start of play. The main covers have just come off and the toss is expected to take place at 11 am local time if the clouds stay quiet.

For Test cricket lovers, here's the bad news first.

With a few days to go for the 2000th Test match, we had asked followers of Yahoo! Cricket on Facebook which their favourite format was.

Being red-ball cricket lovers ourselves, we can't say the results didn't sadden us — even though we understand that T20 is the way forward to popularise the beautiful game.

Coming back to the first Test between India and England, here's a quick recap of who has said what.

Harsha Bhogle walks us through India's history at Lord's - from the baby steps in 1932 to Ganguly's shirtless irreverence in 2002. A thought-provoking clip:

In 1932 a group of romantics led by a benevolent leader descended upon Lord's to play a Test match for India against a country that still colonised it. I haven't figured that out honestly, for it means that India was regarded as an independent Test-playing nation long before it was regarded as a sovereign independent nation! Ah, the vagaries of cricket.

Andrew Strauss says England are ready to knock India off their perch.

"I think we're ready to be No 1, absolutely. There are areas to improve so we're not the finished article, but in our home conditions we back ourselves to beat anyone," the Sun quoted Strauss, as saying.

Aakash Chopra writes about what it is like to play a Test match on cricket's hallowed turf.

Best thing about the worst time of your life is that you get to see the true colours of everyone you cared for.

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