Bell shows his class again

Published: Friday 23rd January 2015 by The News Editor

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Ian Bell hit an imperious century to become England’s highest one-day international run-scorer and leave Australia a chase of 304 at the Bellerive Oval.

Bell made 141 in 125 balls at the head of the innings, making another eloquent case for the role of authentic batsmanship in the 50-over format.

His was a typically classy effort, peppered with crisp drives and exquisite placement, and took him past Paul Collingwood’s previous English record of 5,092 runs.

But although England’s 303 for eight was a good riposte having been asked to bat first, a return of 59 for five in the last 10 overs was an underwhelming end to proceedings.

While Bell and Joe Root (69) can reflect on a job well done, captain Eoin Morgan is having a tougher time.

Less then 24 hours after the revelation of a lurid blackmail plot against him, England’s new captain was snared for a golden duck.

Bell’s form on tour has been largely excellent, with 187 in a warm-up match against the Prime Minister’s XI and an effortless 88 not out in victory over India.

The only black mark was falling first ball of the match in the first game against Australia.

And history almost repeated itself as he failed to control Mitchell Starc’s opening delivery and was fortunate his mis-hit did not go to hands.

After that he unloaded a series of early boundaries, including three in Starc’s second over as he became just the second Englishman to reach 5,000 ODI runs.

The Warwickshire man even managed to draw some reluctant applause from the locals with an effortless back-foot drive for four.

Moeen Ali was a virtual passenger in the opening exchanges but exploded to life in the ninth over with three consecutive sixes off Pat Cummins.

The first crept over the midwicket rope, the second cleared it comfortably and the third was carried over the line by long-leg fielder Shaun Marsh as he attempted to hang on to a near-impossible catch.

Having been 39 for four at the 10-over mark in Sydney, England were now 69 without loss.

The end of fielding restrictions stemmed the flow of boundaries but Bell’s intuitive ability to locate gaps ensured the hundred stand came at better than a run per ball.

Moeen fell for a hit-and-miss 46, deceived by James Faulkner after stepping down the track, while James Taylor lasted 14 awkward balls before lofting Moises Henriques to mid-off.

Bell’s only life came on 80, Brad Haddin grassing a thick edge off Faulkner, and he quickly reeled in Collingwood’s record and his own hundred.

His latest partner, Root, was scoring busily at the other end and the pair went on to add 121 for the third wicket.

Bell managed a first six with nine overs to go, Cummins again going all the way, but had run out of steam by the time he lofted Gurinder Sandhu to Starc at mid-off.

Morgan was next in and failed to banish his recent troubles by nicking his first ball from Sandhu.

England never regained their momentum, Root unable to last the course and Ravi Bopara bowled round his legs, while Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes were run out from the last two balls of the innings.

Published: Friday 23rd January 2015 by The News Editor

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