Bell ton boost for England

Ian Bell scored 108 in England's 294 for five

Ian Bell scored 108 in England's 294 for five

First published in National Sport News © by

Ian Bell hit a fine hundred as England's batsmen put up a much improved effort in their final one-day warm-up against Delhi.

The tourists suffered a 53-run defeat to India A in their previous fixture despite 91 from Bell, and the Warwickshire man again led the way at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium with 108 in his side's first-innings 294 for five.

He shared a 113-run stand with Eoin Morgan, who made a bright 52, while there were also runs for returning captain Alastair Cook (44) and Craig Kieswetter (41 not out).

Cook got England going in the fourth over, striking a pair of boundaries off Ashish Nehra and also picking up four leg byes. He was the senior partner to Bell for the duration of their opening stand, scoring 28 of England's 43 at the 10-over mark and 44 out of 70 by the time he perished in the 16th - bowled by Sumeet Narwal.

One glorious shot over extra-cover aside, Bell was playing a conservative game of accumulation but lost successive partners as Delhi fought their way into the match. Left-arm spinner Varun Sood took both wickets, Joe Root caught top-edging a sweep for an unconvincing 10 and Samit Patel bowled on the back foot for 13.

Bell was keeping his concentration, though, even telling the umpires Delhi had too many fielders outside the ring and earning England a no-ball. He brought up his 50 with a rare show of extravagance, swiping Rajat Bhatia for six and England were 135 for three after 30 overs.

Bell survived a stumping chance on 60, leaving him and Eoin Morgan to push England past 150. The latter launched Nehra for six and was then dropped on 23 as he looked to up the ante, while Bell eased into the nineties with successive fours off Sood.

Bell reached three figures with a nudged single and promptly began swinging the bat.

Morgan followed suit, striking a second six down the ground, and their partnership moved from 50 to 100 in 22 deliveries.

Bell eventually fell for 108, Sood claiming a third wicket, while Morgan departed just after passing 50. But Kieswetter ended the innings in style, making 41 off 27 balls and hitting the last two deliveries for six.

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