Southampton, July 28 IANS | 5 months ago

Ian Bell's unbeaten century took England to 452/5 at tea against India on Day 2 of the third Test at the Rose Bowl here Monday.

There was some respite for Indian bowlers, who removed Joe Root (3) and Moeen Ali (12) cheaply but failed to make further inroads as Bell (133 not out) and debutant Jos Buttler (13 not out) stood strong.

Bell was much more aggressive in the session and took on the Indian spinners. The 32-year-old notched up his 21st Test century with a six and ended up smashing Ravindra Jadeja for 21 runs in that over.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar was the pick of the bowlers, taking both the wickets to fall in the session. The pacer almost had another in the bag but Buttler's edge just bounced in front of Ajinkya Rahane in the slips.

Earlier, England continued to dominate the proceedings as a 142-run partnership between Gary Ballance (156) and Bell took the hosts to 358/3 at lunch.

England, who resumed the day on 247/2, scored 111 runs in 29 overs, losing just one wicket in the morning session.

Rohit Sharma was the sole wicket-taker for India, albeit a bit fortuitously. Ballance was adjudged caught behind but the deflection was off the thigh pad and not the bat, bringing to an end a fine innings from the Englishman.

Bell too was very fluent, stroking 10 fours and a six on his way to his 42nd career fifty.

The Indian seamers struggled for their consistency and sprayed the ball all around the stumps.

The ineffective bowling helped Bell and Ballance record the third successive fifty-plus stand in the innings.

However, there were some bright signs for India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni as the pitch started to take a little turn, which Rohit Sharma exploited to send England's top scorer Ballance back.

(Posted on 28-07-2014)

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