NEW ZEALAND made steady progress on the opening day of the first test against England at Lord’s on Thursday, holding the hosts to 160-4 after a slow days play in London.
Looking for only their second ever victory at the home of cricket and with the goal of capitalising on a strong effort in the drawn series back in New Zealand, the Blacks Caps can be satisfied with their efforts on what was a fairly placid early-season pitch.
Left-arm paceman Trent Boult was the pick of the bowlers, dismissing both captain Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott in the middle session, a period that yielded only 57 runs for the world’s second-ranked test team.
Boult had good support from fellow seamers Tim Southee (0-32) and Neil Wagner (1-46), as they kept the English run-rate hovering around two for much of the day.
Having elected to bat, England will be somewhat disappointed with their efforts, and should they fail to kick on in the morning will leave their bowlers little to defend.
Earlier, they looked to be cruising through to the lunch break without loss until spinner Bruce Martin, picked ahead of fourth seamer Doug Bracewell, enticed a reckless shot out of Nick Compton and saw him well caught by Southee at point.
He nearly made it two in his next over, but couldn’t hold a return catch from Trott.
His miss did not prove to be too costly, with both Trott and Cook falling in the afternoon session as England struggled to keep the scoring rate above two runs an over.
Both fell to sharp catches behind the wicket, with Cook taken by wicketkeeper BJ Watling and Trott snaffled by Dean Brownlie at third slip.
Ian Bell and Joe Root negotiated much of the final session until Wagner drew a false shot out of Bell and had him caught by Watling for 31, ten balls before the new ball was due and just before showers brought a halt to play, half an hour before the scheduled close.
England first innings: 160 – 4 (Trott 39, Cook 32, Bell 31; Boult 2-29, Martin 1-37).