Sunday 31 July 2011 

England Build Lead On Controversial Third Day

England Build Lead On Controversial Third Day
England Build Lead On Controversial Third Day
© Action Images / Ed Sykes Livepic
 

England 221 & 441-6 (Bell 159, Morgan 70) v
India 288 (Dravid 117, Yuvraj Singh 62, Broad 6-46)
Second Test, Trent Bridge, day three
 | | Day Two

England bossed a controversial third day of the second Test against India at Trent Bridge, finishing the day some 374 runs ahead, making 441 for six in their second innings.

Ian Bell stroked a sumptuous century in making 159 before he was at the centre of the day's major talking about when he was run out then reinstated before and after the tea interval.

Bell was run out from the final ball before tea amid confusion over whether his shot had reached the boundary and then whether the umpires had called 'over' and the session was closed.

Bell headed for the dressing room, his wicket was broken and after on-field umpires Marais Erasmus and Asad Rauf consulted and referred the decision to the third umpire, Bell was given out.

At the tea interval, however, the Indian team decided to withdraw their appeal and allow Bell, who was dismissed soon after tea to continue his innings.

It was a grand gesture from India and their captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni although no laws of the game had been broken and they would have been well within their rights to uphold the appeal and send Bell on his way for what was a careless slip.

It was virtually the only thing he got wrong all day as he registered his first century at number three in the order and his 15th in all, hitting 24 boundaries and executing those shots with perfect poise and grace, first in partnership with Kevin Pietersen (63) and then with Eoin Morgan (70).

Pietersen's innings was similar to his double-century at Lord's, if not in its weight than its construction as he had to work hard for his runs early on before beginning to kick on, facing 120 balls before he edged Shanthakumaran Sreesanth to Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

England lost their captain Andrew Strauss (16) early on when he highlighted his lack of form by pushing uncertainly outside off stump, nicking to Dhoni for Sreesanth's first wicket of the day.

Bell was in sublime touch and a run out was possibly the only way India were going to get him out before they eventually did but nobody could have imagined how events would play out.

Morgan flicked Ishant Sharma off his pads towards fine leg and a tumbling stop from Praveen Kumar just did enough to prevent the boundary, although after he toppled over the ropes leaving the ball behind, he lost track of the ball, and his lethargic reaction in returning the ball doubtless convinced Bell that the ball had reached the boundary.

He left his crease having completed a third run, as had Morgan, and made his way towards his partner, unaware that behind him the ball had been returned and the stumps broken.

The third umpire's decision was eventually relayed onto the field and the players departed. It is understood that England captain Strauss and coach Andy Flower went to talk with Dhoni and India's coach Duncan Fletcher and the decision to uphold India's appeal was eventually overturned.

There then followed farcical scenes and sounds at the ground with the umpires and the Indian side returning after tea to a cacophony of boos, which quickly turned to cheers when Bell emerged to continue his innings.

He played as fluently after tea, which was a credit to him staying focussed before he edged Yuvraj Singh to VVS Laxman at slip via Dhoni's hip.

Meanwhile, Morgan put his recent string of low scores behind him to play fluently - almost matching Bell stroke for stroke at times - with some excellent cover drives and well-placed, powerful hits through the leg side and he reached his half-century by thumping Harbhajan Singh for a big straight six.

He fell to Kumar who made good use of the new ball to have the left-hander caught by Dhoni and then Jonathan Trott (2) caught by Rahul Dravid at slip.

England though, were not about to mirror India's innings which collapsed dramatically on the second day when the new ball, as Matthew Prior entertained with a breezy innings of 64 in 55 balls as India clearly tired.

Harbhajan struggled again and hardly looked fit, bowling nine overs for 47 runs and England took full advantage of Yuvraj and Suresh Raina's 17 overs, notwithstanding Bell's dismissal.

Prior hit eight fours and a six over fine leg and he quickly added a century partnership - England's third of the innings - with Tim Bresnan, who overcame a tricky start against the moving ball to make 47 in 66 balls.

England lead the series 1- 0 after a 166-run win at Lord's but ceded a first-innings lead after they were bowled out for 221 and then saw India reach 288 despite Stuart Broad's hat-trick and career-best figures of six for 46.

© Cricket World 2011