Bell hits fifty as Eng battle on

Bell hits fifty as Eng battle on

Lankans strike at regular intervals to stay in control

Bell hits fifty as Eng battle on

Debutant Moeen Ali and Joe Root set about rebuilding England's innings on the first day of the first Test against Sri Lanka at Lord's on Thursday, seeing them through to 195 for four wickets at tea.

England, searching for form following the 5-0 Ashes humiliation in Australia earlier in the year, lost three wickets in the morning session as Nuwan Kulasekara and Nuwan Pradeep made a bright start to dismiss Sam Robson, Alastair Cook and Gary Ballance after captain Angelo Mathews had elected to bowl.

Ian Bell was out early in the afternoon session, shortly after bringing up his 40th Test half-century in his 99th Test, as the hosts slumped to 120-4 on a pitch that did not offer much assistance to the bowlers, despite its green tinge.

Moeen and Root, both on 43, will resume after the interval, having combined for a 75-run partnership despite the tight lines bowled by Kulasekara in particular.

Sydney-born Robson (1), making his Test debut along with Moeen and pace bowler Chris Jordan, 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, but the former failed to settle at the crease and having been asked to bat in the unfamiliar position of first drop, flashed at Pradeep and offered Prasanna his second catch.

After a shaky start Bell began to find his touch, confidently driving anything over-pitched and brought some cheer to the crowd with a lusty straight six off Rangana Herath in the first over after lunch.

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