Bell’s 15th Test century and fifties from Kevin Pietersen, Eoin Morgan and Matt Prior gave England a lead of 374 as the home team racked up 417 runs yesterday in Nottingham. Top-ranked India, which trails 1-0 in the best-of-four series, made 288 in reply to England’s first-innings 221.
Bell had a let off on the last ball of the afternoon session after he was ruled to have been run out. Under the impression that Morgan’s shot had gone for four runs, and the ball was therefore dead, Bell left his crease and the stumps were then broken by Abhinav Mukund. India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni agreed to withdraw his team’s appeal during the tea break, allowing Bell to continue having already reached 137.
“While the initial appeal and umpire decision may have been acceptable to the letter of the law, the decision by India captain MS Dhoni and his team to withdraw the appeal shows great maturity,” International Cricket Council Chief Executive Officer Haroon Lorgat said in a statement.
Bell added 22 runs to his total before being caught by VVS Laxman off Yuvraj Singh. He shook hands with several of the Indian players as he left the field after his 206-ball innings.
“There was a sense that, while it was out in the laws of the game, it probably wasn’t out in the spirit of the game,” India batsman Rahul Dravid said a news conference. “The guys were feeling that there was something not right about it.”
England began yesterday at 24-1 and lost the wicket of captain Andrew Strauss before lunch for 16. Bell and Pietersen (63) added 162 for the third wicket, before Morgan combined with Bell to add a 104-run partnership.
India then removed Morgan for 70 and Jonathan Trott, batting down the order because of a shoulder injury, for 2. Prior will resume on 64 today with Tim Bresnan 47 not out.
England, which won the opening Test at Lord’s by 196 runs, can overtake India at the top of the International Cricket Council rankings by winning the four-game series by two Tests or more.
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