England’s progress in the fourth Test at The Oval was once again halted by rain but not before Ian Bell completed a maiden Test double century to increase India’s agony.
Bell’s 235 was the cornerstone of England’s 591 for six declared on the third day of the fourth Test. England, already 3-0 up and looking to complete a whitewash in this four-match series, lost three wickets in the session but that did them little damage, with the rain that fell at lunch more of a concern.
Ravi Bopara, in for the injured Jonathan Trott, was 44 not out, while Matt Prior was unbeaten on 18.
Three India bowlers have conceded more than 100 runs each, with leg-spinner Amit Mishra (none for 170 off 38 overs) the most expensive.
Earlier, resuming on 457 for three, Bell was 181 not out and James Anderson, sent in as a nightwatchman, was three not out. Anderson added a few boundaries before he was caught by second slip VVS Laxman off fast-bowler Sreessanth for 13. Sreesanth struck again when he had Eoin Morgan caught behind by India captain MS Dhoni.
Bell, whose previous Test-best was 199 against South Africa at Lord’s, went to his double century with a glanced four down to fine-leg. But the 29-year-old’s fifth Test century of the year came to an end when he was dismissed by Suresh Raina after missing a sweep.
That set the seal on a sublime innings of nearly eight-and-a-half hours where Bell faced 364 balls with 23 fours and two sixes.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 21st, 2011.
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