NOTTINGHAM: Ian Bell held firm for England yesterday, as they looked to build a commanding lead on the third day of the first Test against Australia at Trent Bridge.
At tea, England were 230 for six in their second innings, 165 runs ahead, with Bell 56 not out and Stuart Broad one not out.
Given Australia had been 115 for nine in their first innings before teenage debutant Ashton Agar made 98 – the highest score by a Test match number 11 – and shared a record 10th-wicket partnership of 163 with Phil Hughes (81*), the question arose as to how large a target would England need to set their arch-rivals.
This innings, which saw him pass 6,000 runs in his 89th Test, was an especially important one for Bell.
A criticism of the 31-year-old Warwickshire right-hander is that he has all too rarely scored runs when England most needed them. They would now hope the stylish Bell goes on to three figures with this knock.
England resumed yesterday on 80 for two, with captain Alastair Cook 37 not out and Kevin Pietersen 35 not out.
But they lost both senior batsmen before lunch.
Pietersen looked in good touch while making 64 out of a third-wicket stand of 110, striking 12 fours, but fell when he played on to James Pattinson.
Left-handed opener Cook spent more than four painstaking hours compiling exactly 50 runs but he became Agar’s first Test wicket.
Cook’s exit left England 131 for four. Jonny Bairstow didn’t settle and fell for
15 when he pushed forward to a well flighted Agar delivery and was caught behind by wicketkeeper Brad Haddin.
Bell, on 34, was given not out by Kumar Dharmasena after what seemed an exceptionally optimistic lbw appeal by medium-pacer Shane Watson.
Australia review umpire’s decision
However, Australia decided to review the Sri Lankan umpire’s decision, even though Bell had been awarded runs.
Replays confirmed what seemed clear to the naked eye and Bell, who’d got off the mark with a typically stylish boundary, carried on.
Australia’s strange decision meant they’d used up all their reviews for the innings and would now have to accept the decisions of the on-field umpires.
Matt Prior scored briskly while making 31 in a partnership of 44. But, after Australia had taken the new ball, the wicketkeeper gave his wicket away when he hooked a Peter Siddle bouncer straight to Ed Cowan at midwicket.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 13th, 2013.
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