Jones inspires England fightback

Last updated at 17:00 20 May 2004

England's pace attack saw the value of hard work as they prevented New Zealand assuming total control after the tourists had chosen to bat first on day one of the npower Test series at Lord's.

Simon Jones snaffled two wickets, and there was one each for Matthew Hoggard and Andrew Flintoff in a Kiwi total of 199 for four midway through the evening session.

Only winter destroyer Steve Harmison remained wicketless on a day of hard toil as new captain Marcus Trescothick endured a trying first outing in the field, filling in for the injured Michael Vaughan.

His chief stumbling block was obdurate opener Mark Richardson, who shared in stands of 58 for the first wicket with Stephen Fleming and 103 for the second with Nathan Astle (64) and was still in occupation on a painstaking 63 as the first day approached its last 20 overs.

Strauss catch

A timely intervention from debutant Andrew Strauss - with a sharp catch at point to help Jones shift Fleming - had stopped England chalking up a wicketless morning.

Strauss was alert enough, making his first Test appearance on his home ground, to hang on to Fleming's firmly-struck square-drive at Jones.

New wicketkeeper-batsman Geraint Jones and England's stock bowler Flintoff thought they were in business too when Astle pushed forward on nought at a ball outside off stump on its way through to the gloves.

But the only obvious connection was bat hitting pad, and umpire Darrell Hair ruled in the batsman's favour.

Richardson had two minor scrapes either side of lunch - when he flashed an edged drive at Jones through the outstretched fingertips of Graham Thorpe on its way over the top of third slip for four and then edged a ball on to his thigh pad and above the head of short-leg Nasser Hussain off Harmison.

But it was Astle who kicked on best in early afternoon, plundering eight fours from 58 balls on his way to a fluent half-century.

Near miss

Richardson might have gone within minutes of following his partner to 50 - at a sedate 140-ball pace but with nine crisp boundaries along the way - when he was short of his ground via an aborted single and relieved to see Hoggard's shy from cover miss the stumps.

England therefore still badly needed a breakthrough - but when they got two in as many overs they were right back in it.

It was Flintoff who broke the second-wicket stand with a perfectly pitched ball which went down the slope and had Astle nicking a catch behind.

An action replay at the pavilion end then saw off Scott Styris for a duck, an all-Jones axis doing the trick this time, and soon after tea Hoggard trapped a watchful Craig McMillan in front to win an lbw decision.

That left Richardson - dropped by Ashley Giles in the gully off Harmison on 56 - in the company of the much-touted all-rounder Jacob Oram, who helped him push the score on towards 200 without further mishap.

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