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Hoggard gives England early boost

England paceman Matthew Hoggard struck an early blow to dismiss Australian opener Matthew Hayden when the eagerly awaited Ashes series got underway at Lord' s.
Hoggard made the breakthrough with the final ball of his fourth over when Hayden was bowled for 12 with a ball which cut back into the left-hander with 35 on the board.

The Yorkshire paceman was denied a second first Test victim when Australian skipper Ricky Ponting - who had won the toss - was dropped by Kevin Pietersen at fourth slip before he had scored.

Steve Harmison took the new ball from the pavilion end and immediately signalled his intent with a short pitched ball which struck Justin Langer on the right elbow.

Langer required treatment before he was able to continue but he appeared to be suffering no ill effects as he flicked Harmison's next ball through mid-wicket for three.

In a mixed first over costing nine runs Harmison went past the outside edge of Hayden's bat but was also turned down the leg side for the first boundary although it was not the most convincing of shots.

Hoggard, who had been critical of Australia's attack in the build-up to the game, opened proceedings from the Nursery End, and Langer square cut his second delivery for four.

Hoggard initially tended to stay too much onto the leg side and Hayden glanced him to the pavilion rails but he was then struck on the head by a steepling ball from Harmison.

The Aussies were playing in their usual aggressive manner and Langer drove Hoggard through point to the boundary and then cover-drove Harmison for four.

Then came the Hoggard breakthrough which brought in Ponting who had scored a century on the same ground in the NatWest Challenge against England a fortnight ago.

And the former Somerset player could have been dismissed before he had scored with Pietersen spilling a low chance away to his left. Ponting then needed treatment after being hit on the cheekbone by Harmison after attempting a pull with Australian on 49 for one in the 11th over.

Australia kept faith with paceman Jason Gillespie in preference to Michael Kasprowicz despite his indifferent form in the one-day series.

Gillespie had been a slight doubt with a sore knee but had proved his fitness in a rigorous work-out in the nets on Wednesday afternoon.

England had named their first choice line-up on the eve of the game with Pietersen earning his first cap.