Runs in short supply at Lord's
England were made to fight hard to establish a solid platform with the bat on an attritional opening day of the 2013 international summer.
After winning the toss in the first Investec Test with New Zealand at Lord’s, the hosts found runs extremely hard to come by as they reached 160 for four from 80 overs before rain forced an early close.
Each of England’s top four got in but failed to make a substantial score on a pitch seemingly slowed by the recent wet weather in the capital.
As a result, neither side was able to seize definitive control, although the touring Black Caps may well be the happier having showed great discipline in sending down 30 maidens, double the number of boundaries off the bat.
Their best performer was Trent Boult, who produced fine deliveries to oust Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott for 32 and 39 respectively.
The left-armer finished with 2-29 from 17 overs, an effort that epitomised the general control offered by New Zealand’s attack.
Trott - dropped on nought by the similarly economical Bruce Martin - was England’s highest scorer, while Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow had 25 and three to their name at stumps following Ian Bell’s exit late in the day.
Having faced 133 balls for his 31, Bell is likely to regret the needless push outside off stump that resulted in him feathering a catch behind off Neil Wagner.
That proved the only wicket in a truncated evening that bore similarities to the day’s opening session.
Cook and Nick Compton looked set to prosper after seeing off the initial threat posed by Boult and Tim Southee, who were aided by swing and seam movement.
However, as would prove the case with Bell later in the day, Compton departed when well-set to an injudicious stroke.
Seeking to raise the tempo after four successive maidens, the opener danced down the track to Martin but succeeded only in slicing the ball to point, where Southee held the catch.
England duly took lunch on 56 for one and suffered a second blow shortly after the interval when Boult got one to move away from Cook and wicketkeeper BJ Watling sprung to his left to take a thick outside edge.
If that was an impressive piece of bowling, Boult’s delivery to oust Trott was even better as the number three found himself beaten by one that initially shaped in before nipping away late. Another fine diving catch, this time from Dean Brownlie at third slip, sent Trott on his way and provided Boult with further reward for an accurate display.
Bell and Root rebuilt after tea as boundaries remained in short supply, yet the former - who offered sporadic glimpses of his strokemaking quality in an otherwise defensive showing - was unable to make it through to stumps.
His frustration at getting out would no doubt have increased when rain forced the teams off within 10 minutes, denying New Zealand the chance to take the second new ball that had just become due.
With plenty of work still ahead if they were to reach a par score, England could take encouragement from a typically unflappable performance from Root, who did his best to display positivity at the crease on his first appearance at Lord's.
5:44pm - STUMPS - That will, indeed, be all until tomorrow. Play has been abandoned for the day.
5:40pm - We may have seen our last action of the day. This particular bout of drizzle is not shifting for the time being.
5:30pm - RAIN STOPS PLAY - Eng 160/4; Root 25, Bairstow 3 - With the new ball due, the players are taken from the field as the rain continues to fall.
5:27pm - Bairstow is off the mark immediately as another shower arrives. Hopefully it passes swiftly like the last one.
5:23pm - WICKET! Bell c Watling b Wagner 31; Eng 157/4 - Dear oh dear! Like his top-order colleagues before him, Bell has failed to convert a start. After working so hard to reach 31, he plays loosely at a delivery he could have left and feathers an edge through to the wicketkeeper. That ends a second successive partnership of 45 and brings Jonny Bairstow to the crease.
5:20pm - Martin, now operating from the Pavilion End, sends down a rare short ball and Root rocks back to pull for four. He is on to 25 now, only six fewer than Bell, who has a strike-rate of 24.
5:10pm - We have had our final drinks interval of the day and Neil Wagner is back on from the Nursery End. Bell’s fourth four – a flowing cover drive at odds to much of what we have seen today – takes England to 150. The second new ball is five overs away.
4:53pm - There really is not much to tell you at present. We have spin from both ends and the run-rate remains pedestrian to say the least. Bell and Root have put on 30 in 104 deliveries, with the latter having just swept Martin for four.
4:41pm - It looks as though that shower has passed. Kane Williamson is introduced and opens up with the sort of delivery that demands to be hit, a short loosener outside off. Bell obliges with a sweetly struck back-foot stroke through the covers.
4:34pm - I am afraid drizzle has started to fall. We continue, for the time being at least...
4:28pm – A full-toss from Martin – together with a poor piece of fielding from Peter Fulton at mid-off- allows Root to move into double figures.
4:19pm - Root collects his first boundary at the home of cricket, via a flick through midwicket when Boult over-pitches. A drive through the covers earns the 22-year-old two more and he has made a relatively positive start to this session.
4:13pm - There is a momentary hold-up as a chap lurks by the side of the sightscreen and distracts Ian Bell. The floodlights are on as Martin completes yet another maiden.
4:04pm - Play has resumed and Joe Root is off the mark. Bruce Martin got us started from the Nursery End and it is no surprise to see Trent Boult, who has 2-23 from 15 overs, sharing bowling duties immediately after tea.
3:43pm - TEA - Eng 113/3; Bell 18, Root 0 - That will be tea and New Zealand will be the happier of the two sides. England could do with a substantial partnership from Bell and new man Joe Root. The young Yorkshireman is certainly in form, having struck 646 first-class runs already this summer including 179 for the Lions against the Black Caps last week.
3:32pm - WICKET! Trott c Brownlie b Boult 39; 112/3 – New Zealand strike again with tea approaching and this wicket owes much to a fine catch from Dean Brownlie. The fielder dived to his left to snaffle an outside edge from Trott at third slip. It was also a fine delivery from Boult in his first over back. The ball shaped in to Trott then left the batsman as he played defensively.
3:20pm - Bell produces the shot of the day, easing Wagner through cover for the most pleasing of fours. Trott then directs a full-toss from Martin to the fence at midwicket before punishing a half-volley with a similar stroke to collect three. The runs are flowing at last!
3:15pm - Martin sends down his seventh maiden in 10 overs, an effort that eptiomises New Zealand's discipline thus far. England belatedly move into three figures in the next set of six as Bell works Wagner through the leg side for two.
3:02pm - Wagner, the least effective member of New Zealand’s attack thus far, gives Trott more room and the batsman frees his arms to collect another off-side boundary.
2:57pm - Joe Root is scheduled to come in next for England. We spoke to him about the prospect of making his maiden appearance at Lord's...and you can see his response on the right of this text.
2:54pm - Trott has timed the ball as well as anyone on this placid surface. He cracks Wagner past point on one knee for his fourth four.
2:43pm - We actually have a double bowling change as Neil Wagner replaces Southee. Bell survives an lbw appeal when playing back to a ball that was certainly going over the stumps. Time for a drink.
2:38pm - England could do with a big partnership here from two men with fine records at HQ. Trott averages 74 at this ground, while Bell’s runs here have come at a similarly healthy 61. Bruce Martin, who dropped Trott on nought this morning, is back into the attack and immediately causing problems. England’s number three looked to play through his favoured midwicket region and saw the ball ricochet past the stumps via bat and pad.
2:30pm - An eventful over from Boult sees Trott clip through midwicket for three and Ian Bell glance down to fine-leg for his first four before a delivery swings away wildly towards first slip.
2:18pm - That's more like it from England's point of view. Trott drives Boult down the ground for a classy four.
2:10pm - WICKET! Cook c Watling b Boult 32; Eng 67/2 - Boult gets reward for his economy with the big breakthrough. England’s skipper felt at a pitched-up delivery that moved away a fraction and BJ Watling did well to take a thick edge as he dived to his left.
2:05pm - New Zealand go up half-heartedly, believing Jonathan Trott may have been caught down the leg side off Southee. It looked as though the ball just brushed the batsman’s trousers. Another lbw shout follows, albeit an optimistic one. New Zealand are doing well here as the skies become cloudier. Trott drives to the cover rope and England are 64 for one from 34 overs.
ecb.co.uk has just grabbed a quick chat with National Selector Geoff Miller, who says: “It’s slow progress because it doesn’t look a particularly fiery wicket. So it’s just a matter of establishing a big total.”
1:52pm - REVIEW - Tim Southee kicks off the post-lunch action with a maiden, before Trent Boult raps Alastair Cook on the front pad with one that nipped back to spark a vociferous lbw appeal. The Black Caps call for a review after umpire Aleem Dar says no and Cook only just escapes. Replays show the skipper was struck just in line and the ball was clipping the bails, so there was not enough evidence to overturn the decision.
1:40pm - We are all set for the afternoon session at Lord’s. Can either side seize a telling advantage I wonder?
1:03pm - LUNCH - Eng 56/1; Cook 30, Trott 4 - Trott drives Martin through the off side to pick up only the third boundary off the bat this morning. That also gets England’s number three off the mark. You would have to say things are pretty even after Martin’s breakthrough. Had he held on to the chance to dismiss Trott it would certainly be New Zealand’s morning.
12:55pm - There may have been assistance for the seamers early on, but it is Martin who has given New Zealand a lift prior to lunch. He completes another maiden and England are 50 for one as the interval draws near.
12:46pm - MISSED CHANCE - That is a huge let-off for Trott. He offers up a relatively straightforward return chance to Martin, but the bowler is unable to hang on.
12:41pm - Martin concedes his first runs as Cook drives square for three. New batsman Jonathan Trott sees out two balls from the spinner.
12:37pm - WICKET! Compton c Southee b Martin 16; Eng 43/1 - That spell without a run has brought a wicket! Compton has rather given it away I’m afraid. He looked to attack a turning ball from Martin and succeeded only in popping up a catch to Southee, running round to cover from point.
12:35pm – Wagner is going to have a burst from the Pavilion End. Let’s see if that heralds an improvement from the seamer, who was an impressive performer in New Zealand two months ago. He starts with a maiden, the fourth in succession.
12:31pm - After yet another tight over from the miserly Boult, who has conceded just six runs, we get our first sighting of spin as Bruce Martin takes over from Wagner. The slow left-armer’s first ball beats Compton and he duly completes a maiden.
12:23pm - It may be worth mentioning that only three of this New Zealand team – Southee, Brendon McCullum and Ross Taylor – have played a Test in England, so it is a new experience for many of the tourists. Wagner continues to look a little off-colour, but Compton is unable to put away a rancid full-toss.
12:15pm - There is a change of ends for Boult, who is now operating with the pavilion at his back. Wagner has still to find his rhythm from the Nursery End.
12:04pm - Wagner gets it wrong again and is cut for four by Cook. The same bowler then concedes three when a sweetly timed, defensive push from Compton runs through mid-on. England are 37 without loss as drinks are taken. The hosts will be delighted with that first hour.
11:57am - We went pitch-side to speak to Hugh Morris before play started at Lord’s. He previewed the first Investec Test and a busy summer of cricket ahead, as well as talking about England’s young players.
11:52am - Neil Wagner replaces the economical Boult and starts his spell with a pretty poor over. Maybe he is a little nervous on his first appearance at the home of cricket. Southee follows up with a probing maiden to Cook, in which he predominantly brings the ball in to the left-hander.
11:42am - Compton plays and misses facing Boult before taking a quick single to short cover. That is the first run Boult has conceded off the bat. England subsequently end the 10th over on 24 without loss.
11:33am - The first four off the bat comes from Cook, who clips Southee through square-leg with the minimum of fuss. England’s skipper is beaten later in the over and there remains enough movement to encourage the Black Caps’ new-ball pair.
11:26am - Southee appeals for lbw against Cook, but that was pitching outside leg and umpire Steve Davis is not interested. A loose delivery from Boult then clips Compton on the pad and races away to the fine-leg rope for the first boundary of the match.
11:22am - This has been a decent start from Boult, who has drawn a false stroke from Alastair Cook outside off, and Southee. As I type that, the latter over-pitches and is driven for three more by Compton.
11:10am - The ball is nipping around a bit, as you would expect, but Nick Compton has just leaned into a cover drive off Tim Southee to pick up three. In the next over, the right-hander leaves a Trent Boult delivery on length but receives a glancing blow to the stomach.
10:55am - The sun is shining, the players are taking to the field and we are ready to get under way...
10:45am - New Zealand have only won one Test at Lord’s – in 1999 – but four of their last six meetings with England at this venue have ended in draws, including the most recent in 2008.
10:36am - Here are the two teams in full:
England: Alastair Cook (captain), Nick Compton, Jonathan Trott, Ian Bell, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Matt Prior (wicketkeeper), Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, Steven Finn, James Anderson.
New Zealand: Peter Fulton, Hamish Rutherford, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Dean Brownlie, Brendon McCullum (captain), BJ Watling (wicketkeeper), Bruce Martin, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult.
10:32am – ENGLAND WIN THE TOSS AND BAT - Brendon McCullum calls incorrectly and Alastair Cook chooses to bat. Bresnan is the man to miss out for England, while New Zealand are unchanged from the three reverse Tests, meaning there is no place for Bracewell.
10:25am - The main selection issue for both sides would seem to centre on their bowling units. England have to choose four from James Anderson, Graeme Swann, Stuart Broad, Steven Finn and Tim Bresnan, while there is a suggestion New Zealand could leave out spinner Bruce Martin to accommodate Doug Bracewell in an all-seam attack. We will soon find out.
10:15am - While we wait for the toss, which takes place in 15 minutes time, let me remind you that you can keep up with England’s progress on Twitter by following @ECB_Cricket. We are also on Facebook and we have just joined Instagram too!
10:10am - As I am sure you know, the reverse series between these two teams finished 0-0 after Matt Prior played a lead role in saving the final Test with a wonderful unbeaten century. Prior was this week named as the England Men's Cricketer of the Year for 2012-13 and you can watch an exclusive interview with the wicketkeeper-batsman here.
10:05am - Morning everyone. The first Test of the summer begins today! England and New Zealand are ready to do battle again in the first of two five-day matches and ecb.co.uk is in position at Lord's to keep you updated on all of the action. The first thing we can tell you is the sun is shining!