England find runs hard to come by against New Zealand attack
England laboured to 160-4 from 80 overs before rain cut short the opening day of the first Test against New Zealand.
Last Updated: 17/05/13 3:12pm
Not one of the home batsmen passed 50 as some disciplined bowling from the Black Caps coupled with a cautious approach led to a run-rate of two-an-over, meaning a hectic summer schedule started more with a whimper than a bang.
The impressive Trent Boult claimed 2-29 while there was a wicket apiece for fellow left-armers Neil Wagner and Bruce Martin, who worked his way through 11 maidens during his 24 overs of spin.
England skipper Alastair Cook had little hesitation in opting to bat first at the toss, though Kiwi counterpart Brendon McCullum suggested he himself would have bowled had he called correctly.
His seamers didn't let him down with the new ball but were unable to get a breakthrough, meaning it was left to Martin to strike the only blow in the morning session.
England's opening pair had reached 43 with few alarms until Nick Compton (16) seemingly cracked after four successive maidens, running down the wicket at Martin and slicing him to Tim Southee at point.
The slow left-armer should have had Jonathan Trott in his next over before the new man had a run to his name too, only to spill a return catch from a loose drive.
Captain Cook didn't last long after lunch, pushing forward and edging Boult to a diving BJ Watling behind the stumps to end a 115-ball stay that yielded 32 runs.
The Warwickshire combination of Trott and Ian Bell added 45 for the third wicket but with no inclination to pick up the tempo, bar one glorious cover drive from the latter off Wagner that was straight out of the pages of the MCC's coaching manual.
The slow pace certainly wouldn't have bothered Trott until he was squared up by a good delivery from Boult on 39, offering an edge that was superbly taken by a diving Dean Brownlie at third slip.
Bell too couldn't build on a sturdy foundation, feathering an edge off Boult through to wicketkeeper Watling and with the second new ball due, New Zealand would have fancied their chances of making further inroads.
Joe Root (25 not out) was briefly joined by Yorkshire colleague Jonny Bairstow, who finished up unbeaten on three, before the heavens opened, sending the players from the field and ending a day of attritional but intriguing Test cricket.