Day One of the most eagerly anticipated Test series of recent times failed to live up to the billing as the English batsmen made their opponents sweat in the overcast conditions at the Oval. The batting led by the fast approaching 'greatness' - Alastair Cook, the hosts ended the day at 267/3 as the opener remained unbeaten on 114 in a chanceless innings.
The start to the series however was very frantic when Morne Morkel opened the bowling instead of Dale Steyn. The move paid off immediately when he trapped the English captain Andrew Strauss leg before wicket in the first over itself. Thereafter, what followed was typical dour resistance from the much successful pair of Trott and Cook. Steyn looked off color and was bowling well below his best, while Morkel struggled to make the batsmen play. Their partnership of 170 runs put the English firmly in command. Trott's dismissal against the run of play brought in Pieteresen, who looked in fine touch during his innings of 42. The number four batsman got dismissed just before the new ball was taken when he gloved an attempted hook off Kallis. Bell and Cook saw off the rest of the day as the second new ball too did not make an impression on the batsmen. For the Proteas, Vernon Philander too lacked the intensity, while Imran Tahir could not threaten any of the batsmen.
With the pitch looking easy paced for the batsmen, the visitors could well be in for a long day on the field on Day 2 as well. That is unless Steyn can get his groove and probably fitness back.