England take control after Bell’s century


Ian Bell’s maiden Test hundred against India allied to a sporting reprieve saw England into a commanding lead on the third day of the second Test at Trent Bridge here on Sunday. England, in their second innings, were 441 for six at the close, giving them a lead of 374 runs. Bell made a superb 159, but only after being run out when on 137 to the last ball before tea. Having completed three runs with Eoin Morgan following a misfield by Praveen Kumar, he sprinted off the field believing the umpires had called ‘time’.
In fact the ball was still ‘live’ — Morgan gestured to his partner to regain his ground — and, after calling in the third umpire, the on-field officials gave a stunned Bell out. England coach Andy Flower and captain Andrew Strauss went to the visitors’ dressing room at tea to ask India, whose coach is ex-England supremo Duncan Fletcher, if they wanted the appeal to stand. And minutes later India withdrew their appeal. Umpires Marais Erasmus of South Africa and Pakistan’s Asad Rauf emerged after tea to boos from spectators, unaware the decision had been reversed, as did India before the jeers became cheers when Bell resumed his innings.
Although Bell made only 22 more runs following the reversal of a decision which was quite correct, he added an additional 69 with Morgan in what turned out to be a fourth wicket partnership of 104. Bell’s eventual 159 included 24 fours and was made in nearly five-and-a-half hours at the crease. He was finally out when his cut off part-time left-arm spinner Yuvraj Singh was caught by Venkatsai Laxman at slip. Left-hander Morgan went to a 60-ball fifty, featuring seven fours, with a straight six against off-spinner Harbhajan Singh.