England openers fall cheaply

Hampshire Chronicle: Sam Robson's debut did not get off to a good start Sam Robson's debut did not get off to a good start

England lost both openers cheaply as their new Test era started awkwardly in the Lord's sunshine against Sri Lanka.

Both Sam Robson, one of three home debutants at the start of this Investec series, and then captain Alastair Cook fell early on the way to 22 for two.

Gary Ballance and Ian Bell then avoided further losses in the first hour as England sought a foothold under new management, following their Ashes misery last winter, and moved to 52.

A pitch tinged a suspicious shade of green persuaded Sri Lanka to bowl first, but the new ball swung rather than seamed for Nuwan Pradeep and Nuwan Kulasekara.

Cook managed to shield his new partner by taking every ball of the first two overs.

He cut the fourth delivery of the match for four off Kulasekara, but played and missed several times too in the initial exchanges.

Robson, Australia-born but on his home ground as a Middlesex batsman, was under way second ball with a push to cover off Kulasekara.

Sadly for him and England, though, he was not to add to that single before misjudging the Pradeep swing down the slope from the nursery end and edging behind to be well caught by Prasanna Jayawardene.

Cook appeared intent on playing off the back foot whenever possible. But as the Sri Lankans responded by operating at a full length, his attempt to cut Kulasekara resulted in an inside edge down on to the base of his stumps.

Ballance and Bell, in their respective new positions at three and four, therefore had a significant challenge on their hands.

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