Tuesday 21 August 2007 

Centuries For Bell And Cook As England Seal Win

Alastair Cook and Ian Bell both hit their maiden one-day international centuries as England wrapped up a 104-run victory in the opening NatWest series match against India at The Rose Bowl.

England made 288 for 2 before James Anderson took four for 23 as India finished on 184 all out from their 50 overs.

Bell remained unbeaten on 126 from 118 balls with Kevin Pietersen hitting a swift 33 from 26 for an England batting line up which appeared utterly transformed from the side that struggled during and after the World Cup.

Cook reached his maiden hundred with a single from RP Singh, one ball after having whipped him to the midwicket boundary for four. His innings took 122 balls, and included eight boundaries. He was bowled by the same bowler for 102, having put on 178 with Bell.

Bell reached his landmark a short while after the dismissal of Cook, clipping Agit Agarkar to fine leg for four, to reach his hundred from exactly 100 balls with eight fours and one six.

He took little time to settle in and took the game to the Indians, hitting Piyush Chawla back over his head for a six and striking five boundaries before reaching fifty.

Bell and Pietersen added 67 from 50 balls as the Indians struggled to contain the English batsmen.

Prior had briefly threatened, hitting Zaheer Khan for a six over long-on one over before the left-armer had him caught by Rahul Dravid off a leading edge for 19.

James Anderson struck twice early on in the Indian reply, removing Gautam Gambhir (3) and Sachin Tendulkar (17) after Saurav Ganguly was run out for 2. Rahul Dravid made a fighting 46 and Dinesh Karthik an unbeaten 44, but England's bowlers followed the fine example set by their batsmen and gave India no chance of a comeback once they had been reduced to 34 for 4.

There was a wicket each for the returning Andrew Flintoff, Dimitri Mascarenhas and Monty Panesar as three Indians were run out.

India won the toss and chose to bowl in the first of seven one-day internationals after winning the Test series 1-0.

England: Cook, Prior (wk), Bell, Pietersen, Collingwood, Flintoff, Bopara, Mascarenhas, Broad, Anderson, Panesar

India: Ganguly, Tendulkar, Gambhir, Dravid (c), Yuvraj Singh, Dhoni (wk), Karthik, Chawla, Agarkar, Zaheer Khan, RP Singh

John Pennington
© Cricket World 2007