England won the toss and decided to bat against Pakistan. Salman Butt, the Pakistan captain, said he would also have batted first but he won’t be overly disappointed to be able to unleash his new-ball attack straight away.
England, who won the toss, were in trouble at 118 for four shortly after lunch, with Kevin Pietersen out for nine in his first match since injuring his thigh in a one-day international against Australia at Lord’s on July 3.
But former Ireland left-hander Morgan hit back with 44 not out featuring nine boundaries and together with Paul Collingwood (27 not out) had so far shared an unbroken stand of 72.
In a series where the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) was being used in England for the first time, Pakistan wasted both their two permitted unsuccessful challenges on appeals by Mohammad Asif for lbw and caught behind against Pietersen on one and five.
But Asif then bowled Pietersen, leaving a gap between bat and pad, off the inside edge.
England’s other South Africa-born batsman, Jonathan Trott, had added just three to his lunchtime 35 when he padded up to an inswinger from Aamer.
Trott, successful with a previous referral, asked for New Zealand umpire Tony Hill’s lbw verdict to be reviewed.
But replays suggested the ball was clipping the top of the stumps and Trott was out, with England 118 for four.
And there was a fresh flashpoint when wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal appealed for a catch against Morgan, on five, off the bowling of left-arm fast bowler Mohammad Aamer.
But even before the third umpire ruled in Morgan’s favour, crowd jeers were ringing round Trent Bridge as replays on the giant screen showed the ball had clearly bounced into Kamran Akmal’s gloves.
It took Collingwood 30 balls to score his first four but then two came in as many Umar Gul deliveries, courtesy of a couple of square cuts.
Morgan then cover-drove and glanced off-spinner Shoaib Malik for fours.
Both batsmen cashed in against Pakistan’s slow bowlers and Morgan made it six boundaries for England in 12 deliveries with a trademark reverse sweep off leg-spinner Danish Kaneria.
Before lunch Aamer, who took seven wickets in Pakistan’s dramatic three-wicket second Test win over Australia at Headingley last week, had Alastair Cook caught at first slip and had England captain Andrew Strauss caught behind for 45.
Earlier, Strauss had a huge reprieve when, on 15, he edged an outswinger from the 18-year-old Aamer only for Kamran Akmal to drop the routine chance.
Cook struggled in overcast conditions similar to those in which Pakistan bowled Australia out for just 88 in the first innings at Headingley and on eight edged Aamer to first slip Imran Farhat.
Trott then became the first batsman to use DRS in England when, on 13, he given out, lbw to Kaneria, by de Silva. As replays showed Trott had got an inside edge, de Silva reversed his original verdict.
But Aamer did have Strauss, playing loosely outside off-stump, eventually caught behind by Kamran Akmal to end a second-wicket stand of 51.
Pakistan players wore black armbands in memory of the 152 people killed in after an airplane crashed near the capital city of Islamabad on Wednesday.
SCORES IN BRIEF
ENGLAND: First innings 190 for 4 at tea (Strauss 45, Morgan 44 not out, Trott 38, Collingwood 27 not out; Aamer 3-25)
PAKISTAN: Butt, Farhat, Ali, Amin, U Akmal, Malik, K Akmal, Aamer, Gul, Kaneria, Asif