Football: Bell century boosts England

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Ian Bell returned to form with a century as England reached 452-5 at tea on day two of third Test against India at the Ageas Bowl.
Bell, who had not made a Test century since last summer’s Ashes series, ended the afternoon session on 133 not out as England continued to make smooth progress in their first innings.
Overnight centurion Gary Ballance had been dismissed for 156 shortly before lunch but Bell kicked on in the afternoon to reassert the dominance of the hosts, who are 1-0 down in the five-match series.
Ballance was given out caught behind off the bowling of Rohit Sharma, but replays showed that the ball had missed the batsman’s edge and instead deflected off his thigh into the hands of wicket-keeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Joe Root (3) and Moeen Ali (12) were then both dismissed by Bhuvneshwar Kumar during the afternoon session, but Test debutant Jos Buttler was unbeaten on 13 at tea.
Bell, fortunate to survive on nought the previous evening when Pankaj Singh might easily have had him lbw, edged the tall seamer just past third slip for four early on Monday but otherwise showed few signs of shakiness.
In need of runs after his recent lean spell, he greeted the introduction of Ravindra Jadeja by skipping up the wicket to hit him over long on for six, and soon afterwards reached a 99-ball fifty.
He moved through the gears on his way to three figures, smacking Jadeja for two more sixes and two fours in a single over to accelerate England’s run rate.
At the other end Kumar got Root to edge behind to Dhoni and Moeen was caught well in the slips by Ajinkya Rahane, who also thought he may have held on to an edge off Buttler for a duck only for the third umpire to rule that catch was not taken cleanly.
Ballance had earlier looked set to occupy the crease for several more hours as he moved past the 150 mark with ease, at one point hitting Kumar for three fours in four balls.
But the third-wicket stand between him and Bell ended on 142 when part-time spinner Sharma deceived the left-hander with some turn and umpire Rod Tucker made the questionable decision to raise his finger.

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