Bell tolls for India as England pile on the runs

Bell tolls for India as England pile on the runs

Hosts establish massive 374-run lead

Bell tolls for  India as England pile on the runs

Ian Bell decimated the Indian attack with a breathtaking century on day three of the second Test. APThere have been a few crucial knocks in this match where fortunes have swung back and forth. Stuart Broad played a counter-attacking 64 while Rahul Dravid’s produced a defiant 117.

But Bell’s fluent, stroke-filled century (159, 206b, 24x4) helped England wrest the small advantage India held at close on the second day.

Beginning at bed-time score of 24/1, 43 runs behind India’s first innings total, England moved to 441 for six to establish a massive 374-run lead at close on the third day here on Sunday.

 As delightful as Bell’s innings was, it also had a touch of drama laced to it when the batsman was given run-out under controversial circumstances at the stroke of tea.

He was certainly careless to assume that the ball wasn’t in play but in an exhibition of true sporting spirit, Indian skipper MS Dhoni withdrew his appeal. As Bell returned to resume his batting in the final session, boos from the crowd turned into instant appreciation of the Indian gesture. 
        
Admittedly, the conditions had eased up a bit on the day. The sun shone brightly for better part of the first two sessions and though the Indian seamers swung the ball all through, there wasn’t much assistance from the pitch.

 It was a ‘batting day’ as locals refer to it as and the English batsmen made full hay. As has been the routine throughout the series, Strauss had done all the hard work before frittering away the start. 

When Strauss made his way back, England still were in arrears and India in control of things, only if slightly. The stand between Bell and Kevin Pietersen (63, 120b, 7x4), however, slowly took the game away from India.

Pietersen began on a tentative note, he was beaten off the first ball from Sreesanth and was hit on the ribs by Ishant Sharma.

Half-century

But the big-built right-hander shrugged it off and soon got on top of the bowling to stroke his way to another half-century.

The day, though, belonged to Bell who batted England into a position of great strength with his 15th Test hundred. Along with Trott, the Warwickshire batsman is the most stylish batsman in this English line-up.

Great elegance

When on song, he is easy on the eye and an absolute joy to watch, playing his strokes with minimum effort and great elegance. What Laxman had done to England in the first session on Saturday, Bell gave it back to India with greater effect.

He flicked, drove and cut to leave the Indian bowlers a harassed lot but what must have driven the visiting attack to the point of frustration was his penchant to pick boundaries by steering the ball to the vacant third-man area. 

Strauss had failed to stop VVS Laxman and Dravid from gathering runs by steering the ball through that region, and Dhoni faced a similar challenge without much success.
Bell struck 10 fours in the arc between backward square-leg and third man, also indicating that the bowlers gave him just enough width to work the ball past the slip cordon.  

Together, Bell and Pietersen raised 162 runs for the third wicket before Sreesanth dismissed the latter in the same fashion as in the first innings.

Three successive failures

Eoin Morgan (70, 88b, 8x4, 1x6) had been living on borrowed time after three successive failures, and the left-hander, in an attacking stay at the wicket, bought some more time for himself.

 Morgan dominated the 104-run partnership with Bell, who added 22 more runs upon recall before falling to part-timer Yuvraj Singh.

With Praveen Kumar striking two quick blows, India appeared to be making their way back but Matt Prior (64 batting) and Tim Bresnan (47 batting) put on a brisk 102-run association off 107 balls as England amassed 417 runs on the day.        Scoreboard

England first innings: 221 all out
India first innings: 288 all out

England second innings:

Andrew Strauss c Dhoni b Sreesanth 16
Alastair Cook c Yuvraj Singh b Sharma 5
Ian Bell c Laxman b Yuvraj Singh 159
Kevin Pietersen c Dhoni b Sreesanth 63
Eoin Morgan c Dhoni b Kumar 70
Matt Prior batting 64
Jonathan Trott c Dravid b Kumar 2
Tim Bresnan batting 47

Extras: (b 9, lb 3, w 1, nb 2) 15 
Total: (for six wickets in 101 overs) 441

Fall of wickets 1-6 (Cook, 3.4 overs), 2-57 (Strauss, 19.1), 3-219 (Pietersen, 55.2), 4-323 (Bell, 77.6), 5-329 (Morgan, 80.2), 6-339 (Trott, 82.4)
Bowling: 
Praveen Kumar 29 5 93 2
Ishant Sharma 24 3 115 1
S. Sreesanth 22 5 103 2
Yuvraj Singh 10 0 41 1
Harbhajan Singh 9 1 47 0

Suresh Raina 7 0 30 0 

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