England make solid start in quest to win back Ashes

<div>ENGLAND will resume their attempt to regain the Ashes this morning with the first Test delicately poised after an encouraging first day in Cardiff.<br /><br />Andrew Strauss&rsquo;s men recovered from the loss of three wickets before lunch to finish on 336-7, thanks largely to a 138-run stand between Kevin Pietersen and Paul Collingwood.<br /><br />Matt Prior and Andrew Flintoff also batted positively later in the day, making 56 and 37 respectively, before Australia hit back when Peter Siddle removed them both in consecutive overs.<br /><br />Having won the toss and opted to bat, England captain Strauss and fellow opener Alastair Cook made steady if unspectacular progress &ndash; until the eighth over.<br /><br />Essex left-hander Cook (10) nudged a wide ball from rookie Aussie bowler Ben Hilfenhaus &ndash; preferred to Stuart Clarke &ndash; allowing Michael Hussey to catch acrobatically in the gully.<br /><br />Strauss (30) was next to fall, a Mitchell Johnson bouncer clipping his gloves and looping to Michael Clarke at first slip.<br /><br />And England found themselves reduced to 90-3 when Johnson&rsquo;s second wicket cut short Ravi Bopara&rsquo;s fluent 35, a checked drive finding Phillip Hughes at point.<br /><br />Pietersen and Collingwood restored the home side&rsquo;s momentum after lunch, patiently at first, before hitting Nathan Hauritz and Clarke for boundaries as England reached tea 194-3.<br /><br />But the tourists ended the lengthy stand when Collingwood (64) edged Hilfenhaus to an airborne Brad Haddin, and England slumped to 241-5 when Pietersen (69) recklessly swept a wide Hauritz ball to Simon Katich at short-leg.<br /><br />Prior and Flintoff made hay against the spinners, the wicketkeeper making his half-century off just 54 balls and the all-rounder crashing a quickfire 37.<br /><br />But England&rsquo;s enthusiasm was dampened when Siddle claimed both in the dying stages, Flintoff inside-edging onto his stumps and Prior (56) dismissed by a booming inswinger.<br /><br /><strong>SCORECARD </strong> ENGLAND (1ST INNINGS)<br />A Strauss&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;c&nbsp;Clarke&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;b Johnson &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; 30<br />A Cook&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;c&nbsp;Hussey&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;b Hilfenhaus&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 10<br />R Bopara&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;c Hughes&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;b Johnson&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 35<br />K Pietersen&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;c&nbsp;Katich&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;b&nbsp;Hauritz&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;69<br />P Collingwood&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;c Haddin&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;b Hilfenhaus &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp; 64<br />M Prior &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;b Siddle &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; 56<br />A Flintoff &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; b&nbsp;Siddle &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp; 37<br />J Anderson &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;not out &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; 2<br />S Broad &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;not out &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; 4<br />&nbsp;&nbsp;Extras&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;(11nb 2w 9b 7lb)&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;29<br /><strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;TOTAL&nbsp;(7 wkts, 90 overs) &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;</strong><strong>336<br /></strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;Fall: 21, 67, 90, 228, 241, 327, 329<br />&nbsp;&nbsp;Bowling: Johnson 18-2-68-2, Hilfenhaus<br />&nbsp;&nbsp;23-5-61-2, Siddle 23-3-93-2, Hauritz 19-1-67-1,<br />&nbsp;&nbsp;M Clarke 5-0-20, Katich 2-0-11-0</div>