Ian Bell century puts India on mat vs England in Southampton Test

Written by PTI | Southampton | Updated: Jul 29 2014, 03:06am hrs
Veteran batsman Ian Bell struck 21st century as England eyeing a huge total reached an imposing 452 for five at tea on the second day of the third cricket Test here today.

The 32-year-old Bell reached the landmark with a straight six off Ravindra Jadeja and also completed 7000 Test runs in the process. At the break, Bell was batting on 133 in the company of debutant Jos Buttler (13 batting).

India got the wickets of Joe Root (3) and Moeen Ali (12) during the session with Bhuvneshwar Kumar (2/93) turning out to be the most successful bowler for India.

It was surprising to see that the Indian skipper didn't give a lengthy spell to any of his three medium-pacers after lunch, instead opting to give them one over at a time.

Mohammad Shami (1-104), Pankaj Singh (0-112) and Bhuvneshwar were rotated in this manner throughout the first hour of play.

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This bowling merry-go-round resulted in the wicket of Joe Root (3), out in the 128th off Kumar, and perhaps put a check on the scoring as well with only 30 runs coming off the 13 overs bowled.

Even after the drinks break, this ploy from Dhoni continued but he also deployed Ravindra Jadeja (1-101) from the other end.

But Bell who had enough of this negative tactic and he charged down the wicket in the 135th over of the innings and deposited Jadeja straight down the ground for his second six, bringing up his hundred off 179 balls, with 12 fours included.

The 400-run mark had come up in the same over as Jadeja was taken for 21 runs.

Bhuvneshwar then got his second wicket with Moeen Ali (12 runs, 28 balls, 1 four) again falling to a short ball. And he should have had his third as well but Buttler, on nought, was adjudged not out by the third umpire when Ajinkya Rahane took a low catch at second slip. He survived to add 32 runs for the sixth wicket with Bell and took the score past the 450-run mark in the 144th over, the quickest fifty yet of the innings, coming in only 55 deliveries.

Earlier, Gary Ballance and Bell had put on 142 runs for the third wicket as they ground the Indian bowling until lunch, plundering 111 runs in 29 overs bowled in the first session of play. This was more runs scored in any single session of the match so far and showed how the English batsmen dominated proceedings in the morning.

Bell played more aggressive cricket, and at one stage the session scoring-rate almost touched five runs per over, with 47 runs coming off 10 overs bowled in that interim of play.

Bell reached his half-century off 99 balls then, with 7 fours and 1 six, in the 107th over. An over later he brought up the 100-run partnership for the third wicket.

India then resorted to a 7-2 field for Jadeja, sometimes on the leg-side even, but the batsmen were good enough to get boundaries through them.

Ballance in particular was in fine form, bringing up his 150 off 278 balls, with 23 fours, in the 115th over. An over later, England breached the 350-run mark, and looked good for a tall score in the first innings.

Rohit Sharma (1-26) was then brought on as a last throw of the dice before lunch, and to England's dismay, he struck two overs before the break.

A sharp delivery bounced quite a bit and came off his thigh pad which was well taken by Dhoni, and adjudged out by umpire Rod Tucker giving Rohit, his maiden Test wicket.

Ballance was extremely unlucky to be given out at this juncture after scoring 156 runs (288 balls, 24 fours), with India getting an opening against the run of play.