England v India, 1st npower Test, Lord's, 1st day July 21, 2011

Two reprieves for Trott, and a Cook surprise

ESPNcricinfo presents the Plays of the Day from the first day of the first Test between England and India at Lord's

Surprising failure of the day

Alastair Cook has been so prolific over the last nine months that it almost needed a second take to realise he was the first batsman dismissed in this series. It was tough up front for the openers and he'd worked hard to reach 12 when he fell across a delivery from Zaheer Khan and was given lbw by Asad Rauf. There is no DRS for lbws in this series but replays showed that it was taking leg stump in any case. It was Cook's lowest Test score since Lord's against Pakistan last August, the first time he had failed to reach 50 since Perth in December and the first time he had fallen before Andrew Strauss since Melbourne - and even then he had 82 to Strauss's 69.

Drop of the day

Rahul Dravid is the most prolific slip fielder in the game but that doesn't mean he's infallible. Shortly before lunch MS Dhoni showed his imagination by introducing Harbhajan Singh when many captains, Strauss included, would happily have let the seamers continue until the break. With his first ball Harbhajan found Jonathan Trott's outside edge and it travelled low to Dravid's right; he dived, got his fingers to the ball but couldn't hold on.

Miss of the day

India didn't even get a hand on the second catch Trott offered them. Zaheer was in the middle of another outstanding spell and was coming around the wicket to Trott. He found the outside edge but Dhoni, having started to move to his right, then pulled out of the chance and left it to Dravid. By then, though, it was too late for first slip to adjust and Dravid was taken by surprise as the ball shot past him. They were the first runs Zaheer had conceded in 34 balls and it's never wise to give a man averaging over 60 two lives.

Bunny of the day

Dhoni's decision to bowl first meant there was no hanging around before Strauss and Zaheer went head-to-head. The contest didn't really get going at Taunton, but here Zaheer was far more like the bowler we had expected to see. Having probed around off stump during the first session, and failed to extract Strauss in his first seven-over spell, he changed tack after the break. It worked perfectly as the shortest ball he bowled induced Strauss into hooking from well wide of off stump and he top-edged to long leg where Ishant Sharma lurked. It was the sixth time Zaheer had scalped Strauss in Tests and made it 1-0 for the series.

Injury-scare of the day

Yet the battle may not resume. It was the sight no-one, except perhaps the most one-eyed England fan, will have wanted to see: Zaheer limping off the field. So much of this series has been built up around Zaheer and his contests with England's top order, not just Strauss. Midway through his 14th over, having had the ball on a string throughout, he gripped his right hamstring and didn't even bother trying to finish the over. The series needs a fit Zaheer.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • samya on July 22, 2011, 9:46 GMT

    well in almost all the columns zaheer khan's name was mentioned...proves how much important role he is going to play.

  • thomas on July 22, 2011, 7:43 GMT

    IF India can make early inroads this morning, they'll be in a good position. If not, then it's definitly advantages England. Today's looking great in London so far, so after the first hour or so, the bowlers may well find the going quite hard. Zaheer (if fit) will likely do OK, but if there's no swing I fear that Praveen Kumar will be cannon fudder, and the other Indian bowlers didn't look impressive - even in the conditions yesterday. As for those claiming that England were going too slowly and only fighting to survive. Well, that's what yesterday was all about for the batsmen yesterday. This ain't T20 folks and if you would go about you batting in T20 fashion in yesterdays conditions, you'd be all out for less that 100. Please, no comments about how England COULD have been 127/4 (or even worse) India didn't take their chances - something you would expect the no 1 team to do. @BackyardCricket: Aldermann is 55 years old! Do you think he would trouble anyone ;-)

  • anuraag on July 22, 2011, 7:01 GMT

    @subbass, A bowler does not need to be fit to be highly skilled. Zak is among the best in the world after Steyn and possibly Anderson. Besides, the English cricket team don't have any other bowler excepting Anderson that can swing the new ball both ways. The test match is yet to have its thrills. So decide on facts not bias.

  • Grant on July 22, 2011, 6:48 GMT

    I've just arrived at work, a mile or two from Lords and it is a beautiful day. hopefully England can now reap the rewards for their hard graft yesterday.

  • Satish on July 22, 2011, 5:38 GMT

    India made the mistake of playing Praveen Kumar ahead of Sreesanth. He was so slow in pace(around 128kmph) that a couple of times Strauss was able to poke at one and still withdraw his bat before it caught the edge. Sreesanth would certainly have provided more with pace(relatively much quicker than Kumar), swing and even the surprise bouncer. The catching was very disappointing. Indians have always been safe catchers but the two chances that went down could have had a huge impact on this test.

    India has to hang in there and hope to dry up the runs. With KP, Morgan and Bell being strokeplayers, playing on their patience by blocking scoring would be the only way.

  • Mandeep on July 22, 2011, 5:12 GMT

    @subbaass , no matter zak is the best bowler of india , but that doesnt mean we are down and out , India can win without zak also (remember the Perth test) sreesanth will come in for zak , if he is unfit. ITS NOT ABOUT AN INDIVIDUAL PLAYER , ITS ABOUT THE TEAM , that is why we are no. 1. India can win without viru and zak , but now you tell me can england win without its south africa and ireland imports (Pietersen , trott , Morgan). LOL

  • Dummy4 on July 22, 2011, 4:58 GMT

    Almost surprising. 13 overs and Zaheer is out. Maan. Zaheer played all the four IPLs fully. Really frustrating to see the only bowler to take wickets yesterday is out with an injury. Though Praveen did bowl well to not get wickets and it definitely does happen sometimes in test cricket!! I see team India waiting for England's declaration in the first innings. Dropping Trott is something which you should never do.

  • Mac on July 22, 2011, 1:03 GMT

    I think Dhoni would gladly give back both wickets in exchange for a fit Zaheer. It's a tall order to save the match now. Hope Lords turn into a belter on day 3,4 and 5 like it used to in the 90s.

  • Mike on July 21, 2011, 23:05 GMT

    I would add though that as an england fan even though it is only one day of the series I feel a bit more confident in winning already, I MEAN IF Zaheer kahn really is out for this test and maybe the next(Hamstrings are not something you can rush) with no Sehwag for the 1st 2 tests also, it's almost looking certain that England will win. But much as that would be nice I would prefer to beat India with Zaheer Khan fit and Sehwag fit as soon as possible, this series needs all the best players from both teams, locked in a epic battle for supremacy !

    One thing I would say about Zak is this. He was clearly overweight and not fit. This is not very professional at all, especially for a pace bowler, any Indian fans got a view on that ?

  • Alex on July 21, 2011, 22:58 GMT

    We can already see probably the main difference between England and India here. It's the bench strength. If Jimmy Anderson wasn't match fit, the England management wouldn't consider playing him, but India need Zaheer Khan too much, and felt they had to risk it. I hope he can come back for the second innings/test, but it doesn't look like he'd last too long even if he did.

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