England v West Indies, 1st Test, Lord's, 4th day July 25, 2004

England look to build on lead of 223

The Bulletin by Liam Brickhill

10.15am England 568 and 71 for 0 (Trescothick 34*, Strauss 27*) lead West Indies 416 by 223 runs

Andrew Strauss: can he make it four hundreds at lord's? © Getty Images

Despite an iffy weather forecast it dawned fine in north London today, and England's openers will soon be out in the middle again, looking to build on a lead which is already substantial at 223. In an ideal world Michael Vaughan would pile on another 250 runs or so and declare around tea-time, giving himself at least four sessions to bowl West Indies out again on a slowish pitch which is taking a little turn.

But Plan A, as Brian Lara has discovered, doesn't alweays work. Despite the currently cloud-free sky, the weather may yet intervene. But piling on the runs isn't impossible on this pitch, as England's openers demonstrated last night, putting on 71 in 22 overs without apparent effort. Marcus Trescothick's first two shots, which he eased through the covers for fours, might have caused the bowler, Tino Best, a restless night.

In the first innings West Indies' bowling was wayward, and their fielding worse. Lara will want a better collective effort from his men today, and maybe a little help from the clouds, which have largely deserted him since that overcast first morning, when he put England in only for the cumulo-nimbus to roll away amd reveal acres of blue sky.