Strauss leaves the field after being dismissed by Morkel. -Photo by Reuters

LONDON: England lost captain Andrew Strauss in the first over but recovered to reach 70 for one at lunch on the opening day of the first Test against South Africa at the Oval on Thursday.

The South Africans made a dream start when Morne Morkel trapped Strauss leg before wicket for a duck off the fourth ball of the match after rain delayed the start by 15 minutes.

But Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott were largely untroubled on an easy-paced pitch as they rebuilt the England innings. Cook was unbeaten on 33 at lunch, while Trott was 27 not out.

Strauss's dismissal justified South Africa's decision to give the new ball to Morkel instead of Dale Steyn. It was the seventh time in nine matches that Strauss had fallen to the tall fast bowler.

With Morkel bowling around the wicket to the left-hander, Strauss was trapped on the crease by a ball angled in to him.

Umpire Steve Davis turned down an appeal by the South Africans, who called for a review, which showed the ball was hitting the inside of the leg stump.

Cook and Trott batted sensibly, however, while the South African bowlers seldom threatened after the initial breakthrough.

With heavy clouds rolling in, the floodlights were turned on 25 minutes after the delayed start.

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