Prime Minister's XI v England XI, Canberra January 10, 2011

Bell hundred drives England to convincing win


England 3 for 225 (Bell 124*, Trott 48) beat Prime Minister's XI 9 for 254 (Christian 53, Paine 50, Yardy 3-33, Shahzad 3-61) by 7 wickets (D/L method)

Ian Bell carried his sparkling Test form into the one-day arena with an elegant, unbeaten 102-ball 124 to guide England to a comfortable seven-wicket victory against the Prime Minister's XI at Manuka Oval. Bell's innings made light work of an adjusted target as he added 82 with Steven Davies and 98 with Jonathan Trott before the team made a hasty trip to the airport for their flight to Adelaide.

The Prime Minister's XI total was built around brisk fifties from the captain Tim Paine and Daniel Christian before a late flourish from Brett Lee. Michael Yardy was the pick of England's bowlers with 3 for 33, but while the visitors had rested their frontline quicks after the Test series they played a strong batting line-up and even needing more than a run-a-ball didn't stretch them.

Bell hasn't been part of England's Twenty20 set-up since 2008, but in his current form could push Michael Lumb for an opening berth against Australia in the absence of Craig Kieswetter. He is also trying to ensure he retains his place in the 50-over line-up with competition for places in England's top order. Bell reached his hundred from 89 balls with ten boundaries and cleared the ropes with a straight drive as victory approached.

However, as good as he was, he was fed some filth by the PM XI's attack. Trent Copeland and James Pattinson, two young bowlers tipped for Test honours, struggled to tie the batsmen down while Christian, bought for US$900,000 at the IPL auction, was taken for ten-an-over. The fielding was also poor with Davies offered two lives during his 23 - on 2 and 20 - and Bell was put down at midwicket on 71 by Callum Ferguson.

England scored at more than seven-an-over early in the chase as Copeland repeatedly dropped short and Lee also failed to make an impression despite showing decent pace. Xavier Doherty eventually broke the opening stand when Davies drove to cover but the early charge had put England well ahead of the rate when rain arrived to cut the chase from 44 to 35 overs. It made things a little tougher, at least on paper, but Bell was in serene touch and did as he pleased.

Trott, who could be in a straight fight with Bell for a one-day berth, was equally comfortable as he switch from Test to one-day mode. Shortly after the rain break he collected consecutive boundaries off Pattinson to get his innings going. Christian bowled consecutive no-balls as the PM XI's showed poor discipline. Doherty had Trott caught behind and Kevin Pietersen (13) missed a straight ball from Lee with four, but they were minor blips.

The PM XI's innings was a mixed affair with some attractive strokeplay but England managed to pull them back after a swift opening stand following a delayed start. Having playing little cricket in recent weeks, Ajmal Shahzad and Chris Woakes were rusty with the new ball as Paine and Usman Khawaja (22) added 75 with Paine taking 14 off one Woakes over.

Spin was introduced for the 11th over in the shape of James Tredwell and he provided the breakthrough in his second over when he held a sharp caught-and-bowled from a thumping Khawaja drive. Paine went to a 55-ball half century but fell three balls later when he played back to Yardy's left-arm darts and was lbw.

Yardy proved especially difficult to score off as he went for just eight in his first four overs and collected a second wicket when Alex Keath, the Victoria batsman who turned down an AFL contract in favour of cricket, was also trapped on the back foot. The innings was steadied as Ferguson and Christian added 59 for the fourth, but a short shower interrupted their momentum and on the resumption Ferguson lost his leg stump when he backed away against Shahzad.

Yardy then claimed his third when Tom Thornton, an ACT batsman, popped a regulation leading edge back to the bowler and Woakes took his first wicket in England colours courtesy of a fine catch at midwicket by Paul Collingwood to remove Sam Miller. Christian went to a 51-ball half-century with a thumping straight drive off Shahzad but couldn't remain to finish off the innings when he tried a scoop over short fine-leg and was taken by Pietersen.

Lee and Doherty added 35 to give the innings a late boost, but with a view to gaining some meaningful practice ahead of the one-day matches England probably didn't mind a tougher run chase and they made it look so easy.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Andrew on January 11, 2011, 1:56 GMT

    @landl47 - apart from the fact that speed is obviously not the be all & end all of pace bowling (All Oz bowlers were faster then the Poms through out the Ashes), at no stage did I see Broad get within cooee of 150km. The Poms mostly operated around 125-141km. Go check the commentary. Broad didn't go over 141km, Anderson went whole overs without going over 130km. (Actually this analysis is based on the first test, didn't bother with the other Test to check Tremlett). Doesn't matter as it appears an average speed of 127km works nicely for Anderson. BTW - none of the English Bowlers profile say they are anything faster then Fast medium, in Broads case it is Medium Fast.

  • Ned on January 11, 2011, 1:04 GMT

    oh well, was good to see lee back in action!!

  • Harvey on January 10, 2011, 22:54 GMT

    If this was an example of Paine's captaincy then it needs some work.

    Dan Christian had gone for 30 from 3 overs but Paine kept him on where he proceeded to go for another 30 off 3 overs. Surely someone else could have rolled their arm over? That probably lost them the game.

  • John on January 10, 2011, 21:09 GMT

    @Meety- sorry, but you're wrong. Finn and Tremlett bowl routinely in the upper 130s kph, with effort balls in the low 140s. Broad bowls 140+ and hits 150kph with his effort ball. If that was Copeland's normal velocity (and assuming the radar gun was right) he averages about 127kph. There have been bowlers of that speed who were successful (like Vaas of Sri Lanka), but not many of them. McGrath in his later career bowled 130-135; so did Matthew Hoggard of England and Mohammad Asif of India. All were very accurate bowlers who kept an immaculate length and moved the ball around. Copeland didn't take a wicket yesterday, bowled 4 wides and went at 6.71 rpo. It wasn't a great start to his international career, especially compared with Pattinson, who looked sharp. Woakes was also disappointing, as I said, but he did get 2 wickets and he's 3 years younger than Copeland. He bowled about 135 kph, which is adequate. Still, it's only one game and a friendly at that.

  • Gordon on January 10, 2011, 13:39 GMT

    Why wasn't this awarded List-A status?

  • Andrew on January 10, 2011, 12:28 GMT

    @ phoenixsteve - LOL "Great stuff from England and Bell", the 3-1 Test result was great, this 9-ball result was against a side with 2 players who had zero 1st class exposure. @Chris_Howard - agreed, ever since Oz got that yank as a fielding coach, our overall fielding as declined. We don't hit the stumps as often as we use to & our slips fielding is shoddy. I almost think Smith was selected in the Tests as a specialist slipsman. @othello22 - dissappointed in Christian's bowling - it got worse as he went on. I'm happy that all the other bowlers bowled better lines as the match went on. @landl47 re: Copeland - no different to Finn, Tremlett, Broad (International exposure aside) none of them bowl any faster then McGrath did. Anyways the T20s should be alright viewing as far as that format goes, some new blood in the squad & I am glad SO'K gets a go.

  • Duncan on January 10, 2011, 11:38 GMT

    Can't complain much from an England point of view but you'd have thought a) they would give Collingwood a chance to find some form and b) they would want to give Morgan a bat. Both could have come in ahead of Trott/Pietersen. Bell should at least have cemented his place in the starting line-up which is a good thing.

  • Adarsh on January 10, 2011, 9:39 GMT

    @phonenixsteve C'mon give Khawaja a chance, he averaging above 50 in first class cricket and has played 28 matches and look at his technique there's no way you can write him off after 3 innings. Apart from Phil Hughes I don't think there is another up and coming Aussie that has such a record (speaks of how bad a shape we're in.)

  • Lee on January 10, 2011, 9:12 GMT

    It is frightening how much standards in Australian Cricket have slipped. Once again no-one manages to put a big score together even though they all got starts. And that's before we even discuss the bowling, which is beyond bad and into the realm of the utterly disgusting. Why can't these losers just bowl at the off stump? Dan Christian has just been bought at the IPL with little change out of a million dollars. Seems to me that the Indians have more dollars than sense.

  • Lalith on January 10, 2011, 8:38 GMT

    "I want to keep playing," Ponting said. "I still believe I am one of the best six batters in Australia. If you are 6th best in Aus right now with average 16.14 in the Ashes, we can imagine 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th batters. GOD BLESS Aussie Cricket !!!

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