Bell posts record one-day score

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Published: Wednesday 14th January 2015 by The News Editor

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Ian Bell posted England’s highest ever one-day score, hitting 187 in a majestic knock against an Australian Prime Minister’s XI.

Bell, who was only recalled to open after previous captain Alastair Cook was axed before Christmas, lit up the last warm-up match before the Carlton Mid Tri-Series, hitting 20 boundaries and three sixes in a marathon 145-ball stay.

Bell’s stunning effort may not have come in a one-day international, where England’s high watermark remains Robin Smith’s 167 from 1993, but it still ranks as a wonderful knock that underpinned a crushing total of 391 for six.

That matched England’s best previous score in the 50-over game, made against Bangladesh in 2005 when Andrew Strauss and Paul Collingwood hit centuries.

Bell’s innings was fitting for a batsman of his pedigree, paced to near perfection and containing only one real half-chance on 68 when a grass-level opportunity was not gathered.

He reached 50 in 55 balls, 100 in 102 and then allowed himself to open up, clearing the ropes three times as he upped the ante in the closing overs.

It would have been apt for him to carry his bat through the innings, or even reached the 200-run landmark, but he perished off the penultimate ball of the innings, drilling Jason Behrendorff to home skipper Chris Rogers.

When England touched down in Australia, it seemed uncertain as to who would open alongside Moeen Ali – Bell or the more explosive Alex Hales – but the Warwickshire man made an emphatic statement in Canberra.

Moeen made a thrilling 71 of his own, with number three James Taylor making the same score in a more stately fashion.

There was little suggestion that England would enjoy such dominance in the early exchanges, when Australia World Cup quick Pat Cummins hurried up Bell in the first over.

A loose chip towards mid-on might have done for Bell, but it landed short and he soon responded with an imperious cover drive off the same bowler.

Moeen had a similarly awkward moment with just two to his name, turning Behrendorff to short mid-wicket where Glenn Maxwell failed to cling on to a one-handed catch.

As the team’s nominated aggressor, Moeen continued to attack – and was fortunate that one of a handful of aerial shots did not go to hand.

One big effort even saw him lose control of his bat, which sailed off towards leg-slip as the batsmen scurried a single.

He successfully hit himself into form in short order, and was quickly timing the ball beautifully, striking six boundaries in nine balls off Simon Mackin and Behrendorff.

His half-century occupied just 29 deliveries and he was not done yet, going after David Moody and bringing up England’s 100 in 13 overs with a whipped four off Maxwell.

His thrilling stay finally ended when he hoisted a Maxwell full toss high to long-on, where Papua New Guinea all-rounder Lega Siaka held on.

Bell had been playing a quiet, supporting role to that point and continued accumulating once Taylor joined him.

Their partnership, which was ultimately worth 141 at almost a run a ball, was low key but clinically effective.

The pair showed none of the ruthless aggression of Moeen, but stroked the home bowlers around the park without trouble as the scoreboard continued moving along.

At the 30-over stage, England were handsomely set on 201 for one.

With no signs of life from the home attack, Bell was fully focused on reaching three figures and milked the bowling without taking any undue risks.

He eventually reached the mark, celebrating in modest style in keeping with his innings.

The PM’s side shipped 47 runs in the batting powerplay – 18 of them off Cummins’ wayward sixth over – with England on 280 for two going into the last 10.

Joe Root came and went for 13, clipping David Moody to mid-wicket, but Bell would not be moved.

He hit the first six of the innings in the 43rd over, belting a Maxwell full toss over mid-wicket, and added maximums off Mackin and Behrendorff before his late departure.

Jos Buttler also showed off his six-hitting skills, with two mighty blows off Moody in a breezy 25.

Published: Wednesday 14th January 2015 by The News Editor

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