Strauss and Cook's hard graft lifts the gloom

There was a distinct absence of dancing in the streets when Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook were reinstated as England's opening batsmen. Good players, sound individual Test records but as a first-wicket partnership they had been notably inauspicious. On the list of English double acts they were mixing with Cannon and Ball not Morecambe and Wise.

However, when Michael Vaughan decided it was better for him and the side that he moved again to No 3 the deal was sealed. Strauss and Cook were reborn, strutting their stuff together again. Their past misdemeanours were forgotten on the grounds that Vaughan preferred No 3 and Strauss liked opening.

It seemed an argument with an extremely tenuous base, not least because Strauss had made 177 last time out at No 3 and that Vaughan and Cook had done significantly as an opening pair better than Cook and Strauss. So, they had it all to do when they strode out in the early afternoon murk here yesterday. Given the prevailing conditions and the record they were the Gloomy Twosome more than the Sunshine Boys.

The smart money was on an early wicket. This was the duo who had averaged a mere 35.22 for the first wicket and more tellingly had contributed a mere 11.67 per cent of England's total runs (to give it some perspective Strauss and Marcus Trescothick of recent vintage supplied 16 per cent). And the ball had begun to swing round corners. Whichever measurement you used, it was not a batting day.

But the restored duo defied the scepticism with some brio. True, they flirted with the slip cordon at times in the early overs but who wouldn't. Hobbs and Sutcliffe, Jack and Herbert of that ilk, England's most successful opening partnership might have been edging the odd one.

Neither man had been in the most persuasive of early season form, though Strauss had had more moments than Cook. They had been building for this, were pretty composed though it was surprising that they looked so assertive. Maybe New Zealand might have pitched it up more but both batsmen seemed aware of the precise whereabouts of their off stump, not always the case.

These were merely the green shoots of recovery, of course, and though it was heartening from England's viewpoint that they had reach an unbroken 68 it was hardly a reason yet for told you so's.

It was the least satisfactory of cricketing days, irritating and frustrating for spectators, officials and players. There were five stoppages for bad light but this was nobody's fault. The gloom coincided with the announcement of the Marylebone Cricket Club masterplan. When this is executed it will make Lord's a grand ground fitter still for the 21st century and it happens to include floodlights. But they would not have helped on days like yesterday.

Shot of the day

*Left-handed batsmen tend either to look elegant or awkward and Daniel Vettori, the Kiwi captain, falls into the latter group. Despite this, he transfers his weight into the shot exquisitely and is a sweet timer of a cricket ball. An extra cover drive off the bowling of James Anderson highlighted this beautifully.

Ball of the day

*Batsmen do not face many high-quality left-arm seamers and when they do they are caused innumerable problems by them. Often there is very little they can do against the swinging ball and that was the case for the New Zealand tail-ender Kyle Mills, who was bowled by a magnificent inswinger from Ryan Sidebottom.

Moment of the day

*Sidebottom's dismissal of Mills was surrounded by four strong lbw shouts in the same over. Three were correctly given not out; the other was close. When Sidebottom took his sweater from the umpire Steve Bucknor at the end of the over they shared a wry smile. Both knew the bowler deserved more.

Weather

*TODAY

Play is expected to be interrupted by intermittent showers. The temperature will be a cool 14C.

*TOMORROW

An improvement in conditions should bring a full day's play. The sun may even reappear.

Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas