England Lose Early Wickets in First Sri Lanka Test!

England made a poor start to the first test against Sri Lanka at Lord’s on Thursday, losing Sam Robson, Alastair Cook and Gary Ballance cheaply as they battled through to 98 for three wickets at lunch.

Having won the toss and elected to bowl in the first five-day match of the English summer, Sri Lanka bowlers Nuwan Kulasekara and Nuwan Pradeep made a bright start and were rewarded with a wicket apiece within the first half-hour. Ian Bell (41) and Joe Root (6) will resume after the interval as England look to take advantage of a pitch that did not offer much assistance to the bowlers, despite its green tinge. Sydney-born Robson (1), making his test debut, was first to go, edging a full ball off the lively Pradeep, which was well taken by wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene diving in front of first slip. Cook, who had moved quickly through to 17 but never looked comfortable during his 26-ball innings, also played a false shot, attempting to cut a Kulasekara delivery that was far too close to his body and chopping the ball onto his stumps. Ballance, playing his second test, and Bell set about rebuilding the innings, with the former bringing up his side’s 50 just before the drinks break with a cut to the boundary, two balls after edging the ball just in front of third slip.

After a shaky start, Bell began to find his touch, confidently driving anything over-pitched as the pair brought up their 50-run stand, shortly before Balance (23) flashed at Pradeep and offered Prasanna his second catch.

The Yorkshire left-hander, like his captain, failed to settle in the middle, having been asked to bat in the unfamiliar position of first-drop. Earlier England had named batsman Moeen Ali and paceman Chris Jordan to make their maiden test appearances alongside Robson, the second consecutive test they had named three new-comers in the test XI. Peter Moores returns to the test stage as England coach for the second time, having replaced Andy Flower after the 5-0 Ashes humiliation to Australia Down Under, while seamer Liam Plunkett is back in the side after seven years in the wilderness.

England face Sri Lanka in the second and final test of the series at Headingley, starting on June 20, before hosting India in a five-match series.