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Bell guides Bears to Notts draw

COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP DIVISION ONE, Trent Bridge:
CLOSE OF PLAY, FINAL DAY: Nottinghamshire 388 and 71-1 drew with Warwickshire 219 and 470-7dec
(Notts 11pts, Warwicks 8pts)
11-14 August 2009


Ian Bell
Bell contemplates his chances of still being in next week's Test team

Ian Bell stated his case for selection in next week's crucial fifth Ashes Test with a determined 126 to secure a draw for Warwickshire at Trent Bridge.

Bell's timely effort in front of the England selectors helped the Bears save the game as they declared on 470-7.

They then set Nottinghamshire a nominal 302 from 42 overs to win, the home side ending on an unadventurous 71-1.

But the key question is whether Bell did enough to keep his place for the decider against Australia at The Oval.

England's selectors, along with captain Andrew Strauss, were at Trent Bridge as part of their selection meeting before Sunday morning's squad announcement.

And they saw Bell, 92 overnight, add the eight runs he needed for his third century of the season before being trapped lbw to Andre Adams.

He was aided by nightwatchman Naqaash Tahir, who held out for almost an hour before chasing an outswinger from Adams to be caught behind.

After Bell had then played around a quicker ball from Adams, all the signs from Jim Troughton and Ambrose were that they were content to bat out the day.

That remained the tactic even when Troughton failed to withdraw his bat in time to Adams on the stroke of lunch, giving Chris Read his second catch of the day.

The out-of-form Ambrose remained on 2 for a staggering 66 balls with Clarke only a little more positive, as the scoring slowed markedly after the break.

But an apparent signal from the dressing room engineered a complete change in tactics, as both batsmen suddenly opened up with a flurry of shots.

Clarke hit three sixes and seven fours off 71 balls before being yorked by Charlie Shreck making room for another big hit.

The declaration followed soon after, but second-placed Notts, who slightly narrowed the gap on leaders Durham to 28 points with five games left, never appeared likely to have a go for the runs.

As for Warwickshire, their ninth draw of the summer leaves them just 12 points clear of trouble.



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