England flourish after Zaheer strikes twice

England took the early honours in the first test against India at Lord’s on Thursday before the rain which blighted the series against Sri Lanka again had the final say.

No play was possible after tea in the 2,000th test and the 100th between the two countries with England finishing on 127 for two after being asked to bat by Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Jonathan Trott, the most fluent of the England batsmen in difficult batting conditions, was on 58 and Kevin Pietersen had reached 22 from 73 balls Openers Andrew Strauss (22) and Alastair Cook (12) were both dismissed by the excellent Zaheer Khan, who bent the ball late in the air and off the pitch.

The left-arm pace bowler had taken two for 18 from 13.3 overs when he injured a hamstring and left the field during the afternoon session.

In his absence, the backup bowling was not of the same calibre in conditions offering plenty of assistance to swing and seam bowlers and Trott and Pietersen extended their third-wicket partnership to 65 from 149 balls.

The rain, which had held off after early morning showers delayed the start by 30 minutes, then swept over Lord’s and umpires Billy Bowden and Asad Rauf finally called play off for the day with only 49.2 of the allotted 90 overs completed.