LONDON: Ian Bell stated his case for an England recall with a century in his first County Championship innings of the season on Tuesday.
Bell, dropped for England's tour of South Africa that spanned Christmas and the New Year, completed his 51st first-class hundred on Tuesday after resuming on 34 not out following Monday's washout.
He went on to complete a hundred that featured just eight fours in 218 balls and was 130 not out at stumps as Warwickshire closed on 283 for six in reply to Hampshire's 202.
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Bell could find himself back in England contention sooner than he expected after James Taylor was forced to announced his retirement from first-class cricket on Tuesday because of a heart problem.
Taylor's old county, Nottinghamshire, were in action at Trent Bridge on Tuesday where Surrey were following on.
But Arun Harinath (114 not out) and Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara (83), who shared a second-wicket stand of 142, helped Surrey get to 297 for five in their second innings at stumps.
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In the Second Division, Essex were on course to beat Gloucestershire after reaching 34 without loss at the close of the third day in pursuit of a modest victory target of 93.
All the other matches in the opening round of the Championship suffered washouts on Tuesday, with a ball yet to be bowled in the Second Division match between Worcestershire and Kent.
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