Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook shared a sprightly unbeaten opening partnership to swing the first Test in England’s favour against New Zealand at Lord’s today.
When bad light stopped play for the fifth and final time on the second day, the pair had taken their side to 68 without loss in reply to New Zealand’s 277.
Cook showed particularly good touch to reach 43 while Strauss was on 24. The two left-handers put on 30 in five overs after tea and kept the scoreboard moving with a series of sharp singles.
Earlier, Ryan Sidebottom, who failed to take a wicket on Thursday, recaptured his line and length from the Pavilion End, moving the ball late into the right-handers to take four for five from 10.1 overs and four for 55 for the innings.
His last three victims were all clean bowled.
New Zealand were determined to consolidate after Brendon McCullum’s run-a-ball 97 pulled them back from the brink on Thursday.
Resuming at 6-208 they added just 52 in the morning session with captain Daniel Vettori hitting the only two boundaries.
Jacob Oram, who had played the supporting role in a partnership of 99 with McCullum, was caught at first slip by Strauss off Sidebottom for 28 in 144 minutes and Kyle Mills was bowled by the same bowler for 10 after more than an hour at the crease.
Tim Southee could make nothing of Sidebottom’s late inswing and was bowled for one while Vettori, who sparkled briefly with three consecutive boundaries off James Anderson, was the last to go for 48 when Sidebottom finally breached his defences.
Although the weather remained overcast, the New Zealand pacemen found scant movement in the air or off the pitch and may be in for a long hard day when play resumes on Saturday.