With the passing years, the shoulders, never exactly ramrod straight, have begun to slope. This may be partly the ageing process, partly because Shivnarine Chanderpaul has had to carry the West Indian batting for so long.
On the first day of the first Test he once again bore the brunt, in at 86 for 3 and eking out yet another half-century while they came and went at the other end, worn down by England's relentless attack. At the close, he was unbeaten on 87 from 175 balls, grinding it all out as imperturbably as if he was sitting on a roller going up and down the pitch all day. The total of 243 for 9 is probably not enough to be serviceable, since these thoroughbred bowlers will be ready to do it all over again in the next day or two.
The rule of thumb if a captain asks a side to bat in Tests, as Andrew Strauss did, is that they should be dismissed for 250 or fewer. England should meet that principle early today and then look to develop a healthy lead on a pitch slightly less hostile than candy floss.
Jimmy Anderson, England's player of the year, provided a model spell of seam and swing bowling in the morning and, had his fellow fast bowlers found their precision earlier, the tourists might have been imperilled much more quickly. Stuart Broad took a while to find the appropriate length but his fascinating ability to take wickets in clutches anytime, anywhere was demonstrated in the evening.
His 6 for 72, three of them with the second new ball in four overs, made him only the seventh cricketer to have taken five wickets in an innings and scored a hundred on this great ground, an honours board double to provide a spiffing sports quiz question.
Thus, it was England's day; on the evidence so far it will be England's match and England's series. Anderson is an unending pleasure to watch, working the batsmen out, playing with their emotions as well as their techniques. He made both the crucial early breakthroughs with brilliant pieces of thoughtful bowling.
If there was a Nobel Prize for analysing batsmen, Anderson would win it. He is whip smart these days and aided by the talent to do more or less precisely what that smartness demands. But Broad's career has leapt forward in the past year and his length and bounce dumbfounded the late middle order.
Only Chanderpaul had the patience, nous, craft and, somewhat more contentiously, the capacity for self-preservation to withstand an array of bowlers that simply keeps coming at you. Alone among his colleagues, he was willing to play the long game. It was not enough, it has rarely been enough for Chanderpaul, more's the pity, and against this set of bowlers it was never going to be enough.
Of the team's 35 centuries in the past five years he has made 11; in half of the 66 innings he has played in that time he has been their top- or second-top scorer. Make that 34 out of 67. He has forced his way to No 1 in the world rankings again at the age of 37.
It is fashionable to criticise Chanderpaul and the reasons were there to see. Many knowledgeable observers opine that he should bat higher than five in a team that persistently loses early wickets. There is also the suspicion that he is not entirely selfless in his pursuit of the team objective and that frankly he could get more of a move on.
Chanderpaul barely wavered from his usual template. He was wearing a long-sleeved Lycra vest, a short-sleeved shirt, a sleeveless sweater, the ever-present black reflective patches under each eye and a pad on each thigh as he stood directly facing the bowler until the point of delivery. In every way, he looks a soft touch.
He left copiously at the start and he was always playing on his terms, as if happy to let England dictate the tempo, if that is what they thought they were doing. The key incident of the day, and one which might damn Chanderpaul in some eyes, arrived in the 40th over.
He and Darren Bravo seemed to be ambling along rather well. The pitch had not displayed the life that Strauss might have expected when he asked the opposition to bat. Bravo, to boot, had just been badly dropped at second slip by Graeme Swan off Anderson.
In the following over, Chanderpaul clipped Swann behind square and Bravo set off for the single, which was clearly on. Chanderpaul looked up, took a stride forward and then headed for the sanctuary of the batting crease as Bravo continued his charge down the pitch.
England almost mucked up the run-out as the ball went first to Matt Prior, whose throw to Swann at the vacant bowler's end was low and wide. But Bravo was nowhere in sight and an innings that had shown flashes of high promise was done. Maybe Chanderpaul should have gone but maybe that is not his way: he has been involved in 23 run-outs in his Test career, in 20 of which he has been the survivor.
For a brief moment when he was on 15, England thought they had him. He shouldered arms to Anderson outside off stump and the umpire, Marais Erasmus, thought the ball had cut back enough to hit the stumps. The review showed the ball was actually missing and Chanderpaul went back to leaving.
The tourists were up against it with the new ball. Kieron Powell was bowled by one that cut back viciously after a succession of away swingers, Kirk Edwards was leg before to another which seared back at him. Briefly, Adrian Barath, with some sweet cover drives, and Bravo provided a glimpse of what it is hoped will be West Indies' future. But Barath was wonderfully caught by Anderson leaping in the gully for Broad's first, Darren Sammy was caught by Tim Bresnan and the rest was Chanderpaul on the bridge, defying England's might.
Timeline: How first day unfolded
11:01am: West Indies 4-0
The first over of the summer is lively from James Anderson. Adrian Barath hits the fifth ball of his opener for four, spraying a lovely extra-cover drive to get off the mark.
11:40am Wicket: West Indies 13-1
After nibbling at an out-swinging delivery the previous ball, Kieran Powell misjudges an in-swinger which takes out his off-stump. England have their breakthrough.
11:59am Wicket: West Indies 32-2
Kirk Edwards is plumb lbw as Anderson claims his second wicket. Edwards failed to move his front foot and the ball was on line, to leave the umpire with a simple call.
2:01pm Wicket: West Indies 86-3
Barath falls eight short of a half-century as he edges a Broad delivery to third slip. Anderson takes the catch at the second attempt, after juggling the initial chance.
2:30pm Dropped catch; wicket: West Indies 100-4
A slip catch is put down by Graeme Swann as Darren Bravo is let off the hook. An over later a catastrophic mix-up by the West Indian batsman sees the end of Bravo.
4:30pm Half-century: West Indies 167-4
Shiv Chanderpaul gets to his 60th half-century with a straight drive for two. A controlled innings, while his partnership with Marlon Samuels passes the 50-run mark.
6:22pm Stumps: West Indies 243-9
As his team-mates fell around him, Chanderpaul held firm as England ended on top and in control of the first Test. The tourists finished the day nine wickets down.
First day stats
10,142 Shiv Chanderpaul's Test runs, taking him up to ninth in the all-time list.
23 Yesterday's run-out was the 23rd in which Chanderpaul has been involved in Test cricket – and the 20th in which his fellow batsman has been out.
24 Number of years since a West Ind-ies opener hit a century at Lord's.
60 Chanderpaul's half-century was his 60th in Test cricket.
45 James Anderson's 45 Test wickets at Lord's is the equal fourth highest.
5 Stuart Broad took his fifth five-wicket Test haul – his first was also against the West Indies.
Lord's (First day of five): West Indies have scored 243 for 9 wickets against England; England won toss
West Indies: First Innings
A Barath c Anderson b Broad 42, 101 balls 0 sixes 9 fours
K O A Powell b Anderson 5, 29 balls 0 sixes 1 fours
K A Edwards lbw b Anderson 1, 14 balls 0 sixes 0 fours
D M Bravo run out 29, 74 balls 0 sixes 4 fours
S Chanderpaul not out 87, 175 balls 0 sixes 12 fours
M N Samuels c Bairstow b Broad 31, 84 balls 0 sixes 4 fours
†D Ramdin c Strauss b Broad 6, 5 balls 0 sixes 1 fours
*D J G Sammy c Bresnan b Broad 17, 36 balls 0 sixes 3 fours
K A J Roach c & b Broad 6, 7 balls 0 sixes 1 fours
F H Edwards c Prior b Broad 2, 16 balls 0 sixes 0 fours
Extras (b6 lb8 nb3) 17
Total (for 9, 89.4 overs) 243
Fall 1-13, 2-32, 3-86, 4-100, 5-181, 6-187, 7-219, 8-231, 9-243.
To bat S T Gabriel.
Bowling Spells JM Anderson: 25-8-59-2 (9-4-23-2; 7-2-18-0; 4-0-9-0), SCJ Broad: 24.4-6-72-6 (3nb) (5-2-11-0; 3-0-19-0; 5-0-9-1; 3-1-10-0; 4-2-10-2), TT Bresnan: 20-7-39-0 (9-4-14-0; 4-1-3-0; 4-1-12-0; 3-1-10-0), GP Swann: 18-6-52-0 (3-0-8-0; 8-4-14-0; 7-2-30-0), IJL Trott: 2-0-7-0 (one spell)
Progress First Day: 50 runs in 20.3 overs, Lunch: 83-2 in 29 overs (Barath 41, Bravo 27), 100 runs in 37.2 overs, Tea: 146-4 in 58 overs (Chanderpaul 42, Samuels 14), 150 runs in 59.5 overs, Chanderpaul: 50 off 102 balls (7 fours), 200 runs in 76.2 overs, Close: 243-9 (Chanderpaul 87)
Bowling J M Anderson 25-8-59-2, S C J Broad 24.4-6-72-6, T T Bresnan 20-7-39-0, G P Swann 18-6-52-0, I J L Trott 2-0-7-0.
England *A J Strauss, A N Cook, I J L Trott, K P Pietersen, I R Bell, J M Bairstow, †M J Prior, T T Bresnan, G P Swann, J M Anderson, S C J Broad.
Umpires Aleem Dar and M Erasmus.
TV umpire Asad Rauf.
Match referee R S Mahanama.