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February 18, 2006
Ian Bell said that England had a good day in spite of being bowled out for 299 after he top-scored with 78 on the opening day of their tour game against CCI President's XI.
Ian Bell took his time to get adjusted to the conditions and said it was the best approach because the pitch was such. "I think it was that kind of wicket. When you first went in you had to be patient. I don't think it was one of those wickets where you were going to go in and score quickly at the start," Bell told reporters at the end of the day's play. "You really had to take some time and get yourself in. And I think that pretty much every batsman did that. Credit to the guys early on; they saw off the new ball and gave the rest of the guys a chance to go in and get some runs."
Despite the unofficial status of the game, Bell said the team had prepared for it like a Test match and though the intensity could never be as high as a real Test, the players were serious in their approach. "I think as if we were going to play on the first day of a Test match. To go out there and play in a similar situation and not do anything different," he continued. "It was quite nice to get out there and spend some time at the crease against spinners who were actually able to get the ball to turn and bounce. So it was a good preparation in a way."
Bell was out stumped trying to hit successive sixes and after his dismissal England collapsed from 263 for 5 to 299 all out. He said that his rash shot was not induced by fatigue, rather it was more because of the license that a warm-up game provides, with several batsmen in the dressing room and everyone wanting to spend some time in the middle. "I think we are quite happy [with the day's play]," said Bell. "I think a lot of the guys who got out there got some time and some runs under their belt early on in this tour and there's still another innings in this warm-up game and another warm-up game to come as well. I think it was a pretty good day for us."
After a forgettable Ashes series in England where he aggregated just 171 runs in 10 innings, Bell was England's highest run-scorer on their tour to Pakistan, scoring 313 runs at 52.16. He maintained that he hadn't changed his game and said that his success in the subcontinent thus far had helped boost his confidence. "After the Ashes where I would have liked to get a few more runs, I think Pakistan was definitely a big lift for me to be out there and actually be the leading run-scorer in the team. To be honest I didn't try to do too much different. I tried to keep it very simple just like I did in the Ashes and had a little bit of luck. I thought I played quite nicely and I would not change one little bit."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.