England v India, 2nd npower Test, Trent Bridge, 3rd day

England's batsmen flatten India on 417-run day

The Report by George Binoy

July 31, 2011

Text size: A | A

England 221 and 441 for 6 (Bell 159, Pietersen 63, Morgan 70, Prior 64*) lead India 288 by 374 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details


Ian Bell brings up his first century from the No. 3 position, England v India, 2nd npower Test, Trent Bridge, 3rd day, July 31, 2011
Ian Bell mastered the Indian attack but was also at the centre of a controversy at tea © Getty Images
Enlarge
Related Links

For two days, the swinging and seaming ball dominated the bat at Trent Bridge, and eleven wickets fell. On the third, the trend was reversed, emphatically. Faced with adversity - England trailed by 43 at the start and lost Andrew Strauss with the deficit still 10 - Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen played memorable counterattacking innings, batting with the confidence of champions during a 162-run partnership plundered at 4.47 runs per over. Eoin Morgan and Matt Prior then converted England's lead from healthy to practically unassailable with aggressive half-centuries, capitalising on wayward bowling, ragged fielding and listless captaincy. At stumps England led by 374 with four wickets in hand, having scored 417 runs in the day, and India's chances of winning or saving the match were slim. England's cricket was simply superior to India's, before and after the flashpoint that caused chaos minutes before tea.

England's lead was 187 with seven wickets in hand, when Bell, batting on 137 with the mastery of Yoda, made a rookie's assumption that ended his innings, temporarily. Morgan flicked the last ball before tea towards the square-leg boundary, where Praveen Kumar dived to try to save it. And he did, though he didn't think he had. Praveen then took his time to get up and throw the ball towards the wicketkeeper's end, by which time Bell had gone to the non-striker's end, jogging at first and then walking, either because he thought it was a boundary or that tea had been called. The throw reached Abhinav Mukund and he took off the bails, after which the umpire called over and handed Ishant Sharma his sweater. India had appealed for a run-out, though, and after a long delay, while the decision was referred to the third umpire, Bell was given out.

The Indian team was greeted with boos from the Nottingham crowd as play resumed after tea. But suddenly Bell walked out to bat and there were cheers. During the tea interval England's captain and coach, Andrew Strauss and Andy Flower, had asked Dhoni if he was willing to withdraw the appeal. India had been within their rights to appeal for the run-out, and Bell was out according to the laws, but Dhoni agreed to let Bell resume his innings.

Bell added only 22 runs after the drama before he edged Yuvraj Singh to slip. During that time, though, Morgan took charge, finding the boundary frequently during a 104-run partnership. India's flagging intensity in the field plunged further. While most were still debating the run-out that wasn't, Morgan raced past fifty, off 62 balls, with a straight six off Harbhajan Singh.

Smart stats

  • England's aggregate of 417 runs in the third day's play is the second occasion that they have scored 400 or more runs in a day's play after the 407 runs scored against Australia on the first day at Edgbaston in 2005.
  • Ian Bell's 159 is his third score over 150 and his 15th century overall. It is also his first Test century batting at No. 3.
  • Bell's strike rate of 77.18 is third on the list of his best strike rates for 100-plus scores in Tests. It is also the fourth-highest strike rate for an English batsman for a 100-plus score at Trent Bridge.
  • The 162-run stand between Bell and Kevin Pietersen is the third-highest for the third wicket for England in Tests against India.
  • The partnership run-rate (4.47) for the Bell-Pietersen stand is the second-highest for 150-plus stands for England in Tests against India.
  • Matt Prior brought up his half-century off only 38 balls. Ian Botham holds the record for the fastest fifty by an English batsman against India when he scored his fifty off 28 balls.
  • It is the ninth occasion that England have managed three century stands in an innings against India. The previous such occasion was at Lord's in 1990.

The second new-ball gave India false hope as Morgan and the injured Jonathan Trott fell in successive overs from Praveen. Prior and Tim Bresnan, however, added an unbeaten 102 runs for the seventh wicket at 5.56 runs an over. Their hitting boundaries at will turned the contest into a bout between a boxer in his prime and an opponent unable to defend himself. England had scored 187 runs in the final session. Whether the Bell incident affected India's psyche after tea or not, there was a drastic decline in their performance. In the 90 overs England batted today, they hit 52 fours and two sixes.

The platform for England's dominance, however, had been laid well before tea. A combination of sunshine and the use of the heavy roller meant that batting conditions were as good as they had ever been over the previous two days. And Bell, batting at No. 3 because of the shoulder injury to Trott, thrived in them. His shot selection and placement were precise, his timing faultless.

Bell had a strike-rate of over 70 against every specialist Indian bowler, an indication that no one troubled him. He cut when there was width, drove straight when the length was fuller and flicked and glanced when the line was too straight. And there were plenty of opportunities to do so. The scoring was all around the wicket and India were powerless to prevent the glut of boundaries. By lunch, he had scored 84 out of England's 130, and built a lead of 63 in Pietersen's company. Unlike Bell, though, Pietersen had not been fluent before lunch.

On the previous two days, there was a wicket in the first over after lunch. Today, there was a four from Bell. And then Pietersen found his fluency, driving Ishant on the up to the straight boundary, and switched into formidable mode. He attacked Ishant again, moving inside the line to glance, pulling with power and driving fiercely to long-on in the same over.

The ensuing passage of play was a blur of boundaries: Bell guiding wide balls to third man and Pietersen glancing towards fine leg. Bell got to his century off 129 balls, England reached 200 in 52.1 overs. India had some respite when, against the run of play, Sreesanth found Pietersen's edge, after which he bowed to the crowd, who had been giving him a hard time. Morgan, however, didn't fall cheaply this time and began a partnership with Bell. And then the drama began.

George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

RSS Feeds: George Binoy

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

TopTop
Email Feedback Print
Share
E-mail
Feedback
Print
George BinoyClose
George Binoy Assistant Editor After a major in Economics and nine months in a financial research firm, George realised that equity, capital and the like were not for him. He decided that he wanted to be one of those lucky few who did what they love at work. Alas, his prodigious talent was never spotted and he had to reconcile himself to the fact that he would never earn his money playing cricket for his country, state or even district. He jumped at the opportunity to work for ESPNcricinfo and is now confident of mastering the art of office cricket
Tour Results
England v India at Cardiff - Sep 16, 2011
England won by 6 wickets (with 10 balls remaining) (D/L method)
England v India at Lord's - Sep 11, 2011
Match tied (D/L method)
England v India at The Oval - Sep 9, 2011
England won by 3 wickets (with 7 balls remaining) (D/L method)
England v India at Southampton - Sep 6, 2011
England won by 7 wickets (with 5 balls remaining)
England v India at Chester-le-Street - Sep 3, 2011
No result
More results »
News | Features Last 3 days
News | Features Last 3 days