Trent Bridge (Nottingham): Ian Bell produced a master-class of an innings with a brilliant knock of 159, putting England in a commanding position at the end of Day 3 of the second Test match between India and England at Trent Bridge.
England tightened their hold in the 2nd Test match as they piled up a massive second innings lead of 374 runs with four wickets in hand, leaving India on the backfoot.
England were at 441 runs for the loss of six wickets at the end of third day’s play.
Their batsmen made batting look an effortless job as barring the failure of Strauss and injured Trott, each of their batsmen on crease scored at will dispatching the Indian bowlers all over the ground.
Hero of the day Ian Bell continued his good run with the bat this year with yet another century on a heavily rolled pitch that favored the batsmen and given the bright and sunny weather, Indian bowlers were taken to a hard task by the English batsmen throughout the day .
England batsmen extracted maximum out of batting friendly conditions as one after another batsmen kept on registering half-centuries.
What was noticeable was the pace with which the English team scored runs as they piled up in excess of 400 runs in a day’s play.
The day began with the overnight pair of Strauss and Bell starting on a confident note with both the batsmen seeing of the Indian bowlers without any trouble.
However, Strauss’s poor run with the bat continued as he tried poking an outgoing delivery from Sreesanth but before he could pull back, edged it to Dhoni who completed an easy catch.
This proved to be a minor hiccup as soon the reins were in the hands of Bell and Lord’s double centurion, Kevin Pietersen, who kept the scoreboard ticking.
Pietersen moved his feet all around finding boundaries with ease as Ian Bell completed his 15th century in no time. It was his first century against India and given the fact that he came in at number three in place of injured Jonathan Trott, the batsmen stamped his authority with a solid fourth century of 2011.
Pietersen departed after scoring 63 runs as twice in this Test match his wicket was claimed by Sreesanth.
Eoin Morgan joined Bell and in no time scored a breezy half-century before being caught by Dhoni on 70 runs.
A little drama in the middle just before the tea-break seemed to overshadow the England’s dominance on Day 3 as Ian Bell was adjudged out in a bizarre manner.
Praveen Kumar in a comical fashion had attempted to save a boundary at deep square leg. The batsmen oblivious to the fact that he had indeed made a save, took it as a boundary as Bell strolled nonchalantly to the non-striker’s end assuming the umpire had called for tea.
In the meantime, Abhinav Mukund after receiving the throw at the keepers end took off the bails and Indian team appealed for a run out which after a TV referral resulted in Ian bell being given run-out.
As the Indian team came back in the middle after the tea, the crowd booed them which soon turned into loud cheers as soon it became clear that Dhoni had called Bell back to the crease. Bell then went onto add added only 22 runs before falling to a rather soft dismissal to Yuvraj Singh.
Indian bowlers did raise hopes when they picked two quick wickets as injured Trott who came in at number 6 lasted for only 10 deliveries as he went back to the dressing room without making any significant contribution to the score. He was caught at slip by Dravid of a Praveen Kumar’s outswinger.
However, the bowlers failed to take any advantage of the new ball as batsmen continued to make merry with Matt Prior striking a quick half century building an unbeaten partnership of 102 runs for the seventh wicket with Tim Bresnan.
Indian bowlers who looked tired with their fielders evidently tattered and this combined with languid captaincy from MS Dhoni and a ruthless attack from the England batsmen took the game away from India as the team scored 187 runs in the third and final session of the day.
India can however take heart from the fact that the conditions have turned more batting friendly after the first two days bowling dominated the proceedings and they have the batting capable of chasing the final target.
India will certainly face a herculean task of chasing a mammoth total in excess of 400 runs when they take guard in the middle on the last two days of the 2nd Test match at Trent Bridge.