England v Australia, 2nd npower Test, Lord's, 1st day July 16, 2009

Openers, overstepping and ovations

Partnership of the day

Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook aren't exactly known for their high-octane strokeplay, but as they blazed through the first two sessions at rate of four an over, Ashes records were scattered before them like pigeons from the outfield. By the time they were eventually separated on 196, they had surpassed Hobbs and Sutcliffe, no less, as England's best opening partnership in an Ashes Test at Lord's (182), and had posted the highest first-wicket stand in England since Colin Cowdrey and Peter Richardson at Trent Bridge in 1956 (204). Ominously, it was England's best in any Ashes Test since Graham Gooch and Mike Atherton put together 213 at Adelaide in 1990-91. That series ended as a thumping 3-0 defeat.

Delivery of the day

Mitchell Johnson's 59th of the innings, which pitched in line from over the wicket to the left-handed Cook, and thudded into the back patch of an overbalanced defensive shot. Funnily enough, Johnson nailed Cook in identical fashion on the penultimate day at Cardiff to set Australia up for their thwarted victory bid. There was no joy in his reaction this time, however. By the time he remembered to aim the ball at the stumps, Johnson had already leaked a whopping 67 runs. But at least the lesson sunk in quickly

Reception of the day

Andrew Flintoff's emergence from the pavilion, helmet in hand as is his wont, to lap up the warm acclaim of the Lord's faithful, 24 hours after announcing his impending retirement. The crowd rose as one to welcome him to the crease, with England in more of a predicament than their scoreline of 317 for 5 would suggest. His nerves were allowed to settle with a second-ball leg-stump half-volley that he guided easily through midwicket, but before he could capitalise he was gone, caught by Ricky Ponting as Ben Hilfenhaus curled the old ball off his outside edge.

Overstep of the day

A double-whammy of disappointment gave Strauss a let-off on 48. With Ben Hilfenhaus probing his off stump, England's captain planted his front foot and snicked firmly through to Brad Haddin, who made all the ground he needed but could not scoop the opportunity six inches from the turf. It did not matter, however, because Hilfenhaus's boot had crossed the front line by a few precious millimetres.

Drop of the day

Mike Hussey in the gully with Strauss on 105, and the score on 270 for 3. On the first morning at Cardiff last week, it was a Hussey special in the same position that removed Cook and sparked Australia's bowlers in life. This time his fingertips could not extend far enough, and a loose slash from Strauss fizzed away through fine leg for four. To judge by what followed, had the captain fallen then, England really would have been in trouble.

Dislocation of the day

At first it appeared Nathan Hauritz had merely given Andrew Strauss a second life on 52, albeit to a very tough return chance. As the ball deflected away to the boundary's edge, however, it quickly became apparent that the situation was much worse for Australia than just a let-off. Hauritz clasped his right hand in agony and signalled for help from the dressing-room, and the TV cameras zoomed in on the painful truth - the tip of his spinning finger had been bent completely in the wrong direction. Happily a trip to the quack revealed no break, and he returned to the field for an eventful final hour of the day.

Soft dismissal of the day

Paul Collingwood saved the Cardiff Test by batting from his crease for five-and-three-quarter hours, and 245 balls. After that level of obduracy, it's little wonder his feet were a bit itchy today. He was never quite able to settle into a changed role today, as his bat-face closed on a succession of over-ambitious nurdles into the leg-side, and eventually, in a moment reminiscent of Kevin Pietersen's dismissal at Edgbaston last summer, he shuffled down the track and slapped the spinner Michael Clarke straight to mid-on for 16.

Shy of the day

Ricky Ponting had Strauss in his sights at the non-striker's end when, with England's captain on 96 and backing up urgently in a bid to reclaim the strike and reach his hundred, he failed to notice his opposite number hurtling towards the ball at mid-on. Belatedly Strauss dabbed his bat back towards the crease as a furious shy came in, and had the ball hit it could well have been curtains. But it did not, and instead it zipped fast and flat across the outfield, and away through third man for four overthrows. Ponting grinned wryly as well he might. It was that type of a day

KPism of the day

His propensity for daft dismissals is becoming a bit of a running joke, but Pietersen so nearly gave his wicket away twice in consecutive balls before tea. First he played Hilfenhaus down into the crease off the back foot, and as the ball popped up towards his nose, it needed every ounce of his wavering self-control to resist the urge to pat the ball away with his gloved hand, not once, but twice. In the end the ball rolled safely into his pads and away from the stumps, but Hilfenhaus was not finished. His next delivery was a sharp and impressive bouncer. Pietersen flapped into a defensive/aggressive hook, and was incredibly lucky that his top-edge fell safely out of the keeper's grasp.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo