LONDON, July 6 (Reuters) - England captain Joe Root endured a sticky start to his reign as his team spluttered to 82 for four at lunch on the opening day of the first test against South Africa at Lord’s on Thursday.
Root won the toss in bright and sunny conditions but openers Alastair Cook (three) and Keaton Jennings (eight) were soon back in the pavilion with England reeling at 17 for two.
The new skipper strode out to bat to warm applause from a packed crowd at the home of cricket and he struck his fourth delivery for four.
But Root struggled to find his usual fluency against a disciplined South Africa pace attack and, on 16, he was dropped at gully off Kagiso Rabada.
Gary Ballance made a scratchy 20 before he was trapped lbw by Morne Morkel and Jonny Bairstow fell lbw to Vernon Philander for 10.
Root battled through to 33 not out at the interval with Ben Stokes on four and the pair have a major rebuilding job ahead if England are to post a competitive first-innings total.
Cook was caught by wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock playing a loose stroke at a wide ball from Philander and Jennings fell lbw to the powerful right-arm seamer who had figures of 3-26.
Editing by Clare Lovell