London - Joe Root and Ben Stokes marked their first Test innings as England captain and vice-captain respectively with fifties as the hosts fought back on the first day of the series opener against South Africa at Lord's here on Thursday (July 6).

England were 182 for four at tea, having not lost a wicket in a session that saw them score exactly 100 runs after they had been in deep in trouble at 82 for four come lunch. Root, who won the toss, was 79 not out and left-hander Stokes 52 not out, with the pair's unbroken stand worth 106 runs. Stokes took the attack to the Proteas in the first of this four-Test series, driving spinner Keshav Maharaj for six.

But he had a moment of good fortune when 'bowled' off a Morne Morkel no-ball on 44, although the fast bowler had over-stepped considerably. Root, 33 not out at lunch, completed an 89-ball fifty including seven fours and showed plenty of deft touches, including a late cut boundary off Morkel.

Earlier, perhaps encouraged by the blue skies overhead and Lord's reputation as a good batting pitch, Root opted to bat first. But a green-tinged surface also gave the bowlers hope of early movement. Alastair Cook, in his first Test since resigning as England captain in February, had made just three when he flat-footedly chased a Vernon Philander delivery outside off stump and was caught behind.

South Africa-born Keaton Jennings, who played in the same Johannesburg school side as Proteas wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock before opting for England, fell next on his home debut. Cook's fellow left-handed opener was lbw to Philander for eight after not getting that far forward. Umpire S Ravi took his time before raising the finger, with England eventually opting against a review.

Replays showed the ball had just pitched outside leg stump and was missing the stumps, meaning a challenge would have seen the Indian's decision overturned. The 32-year-old Philander, fit following an ankle injury sustained while playing for English county side Sussex, had once again shown that an ability to move the ball both ways more than compensated for a lack of express pace. He'd now taken two wickets for three runs in eight balls to leave England 17 for two.

Philander's last Test at Lord's saw him return second-innings figures of five for 30 in a 51-run win that gave South Africa a 2-0 victory in a three-match series in 2012. Root, meanwhile, was fortunate, when on five a top-edged hook off Kagiso Rabada just cleared substitute fielder Aiden Markram at long leg. Jennings's dismissal may have had some influence on the exit of the third left-handed member of England's top three, Gary Ballance. Recalled for a third crack at Test cricket after churning out the runs for Yorkshire this season, Ballance was lbw to Morkel, altering his delivery angle to around the wicket, for 20.

Having not reviewed Jennings's dismissal, England challenged Ravi's decision on this occasion. But with Ballance back on his stumps, technology showed the ball would have hit middle and leg stumps. Jonny Bairstow, who had performed many a rescue mission for England with the bat, fell for just 10 when he was plumb lbw to Philander after going onto the back foot.

Scoreboard

ENGLAND 1ST INNINGS:
AN Cook c de Kock b Philander 3
KK Jennings lbw b Philander 8
GS Ballance lbw b Morkel 20
JE Root not out 184
JM Bairstow lbw b Philander 10
BA Stokes c de Kock b Rabada 56
MM Ali not out 61
EXTRAS: (lb 2, nb 13) 15
TOTAL: (5 wickets; 87 overs) 357
FOW: 1-14, 2-17, 3-49, 4-76, 5-190.
BOWLING: M Morkel 16-1-64-1, VD Philander 16-2-46-3, K Rabada 23-4-94-1, KA Maharaj 22-1-107-0, TB de Bruyn 5-1-30-0, T Bavuma 5-0-14-0.
TOSS: England
UMPIRES: S Ravi (India) and PR Reiffel (Australia)
TV UMPIRE: SD Fry (Australia)
MATCH REFEREE: JJ Crowe (New Zealand)
RESERVE UMPIRE: RT Robinson