Strauss left to suffer as Zaheer strikes

ANDREW Strauss endured another failure against left-arm seam as England's slow progress continued in the historic 2,000th Test at Lord's today.

Captain Strauss fell for just 22 against India in the fourth over after lunch, after once again looking uncomfortable against Zaheer Khan.

The outstanding Zaheer earlier prompted a rare failure from Alastair Cook, who was trapped lbw for just 12 by the tourists' star seamer.

Jonathan Trott also survived a scare two overs before lunch when Rahul Dravid failed to claim Harbhajan Singh's first ball at slip.

Zaheer's outstanding figures of two for nine from 11 overs helped India restrict England to 83 for two after 34 overs, with Trott unbeaten on 30 and Kevin Pietersen on seven.

Strauss had earlier lost the toss after the start was delayed by rain for half an hour, with overhead conditions favourable to the bowling side.

England opted to retain Stuart Broad instead of the fit-again Tim Bresnan, while Suresh Raina was named ahead of Yuvraj Singh for the tourists.

There were encouraging early signs for the Indian seamers, with Zaheer's first ball moving significantly in to Strauss, whose struggles against left-arm fast-bowling were well-documented in the build-up to this match.

Praveen Kumar found even more lateral movement from the Pavilion End, swinging his first two balls lavishly as the overcast conditions took effect.

It took until the fourth over for Cook to crack the first runs of the day, cutting for four as Praveen dropped short.

England almost lost Strauss to a needless run-out after Cook sent him back but Ishant Sharma missed the stumps.

The left-handed pair were doing a good job of nullifying the new ball in spite of the swing and had just got past the 10-over mark when Zaheer trapped Cook lbw on the crease.

Asad Rauf rightly gave the verdict and, with no Decision Review System for leg-before decisions in this series, Cook was on his way. Replays indicated the decision would have been upheld in any case.

New man Trott settled in typically low-key fashion and picked up a first four to fine leg as Sharma offered the latest of a number of loose deliveries after being brought into the attack.

Harbhajan almost saw off Trott with his first ball in the 19th over, which went straight on and took the edge. Dravid, at slip, did not get down quickly enough and the chance went begging.

Trott also got away with an edge straight after lunch, India paying the price for not having a third slip in place.

But Zaheer soon delivered their second wicket in the 25th over, a rare bouncer enticing Strauss into an ill-advised hook, which sailed straight to Sharma at deep backward square.

That brought in Pietersen, who played anything but his normal attacking game to emphasise the difficulties the cloudy conditions were posing.

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