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Page last updated at 17:35 GMT, Friday, 11 July 2008 18:35 UK

Supreme Bell piles pressure on SA

FIRST TEST, Lord's, day two (close):
England 593-8 dec v S Africa 7-0

By Jonathan Stevenson

Centurion Ian Bell
Ian Bell celebrates reaching his eighth Test century on day two

Ian Bell struck a magnificent 199 as England made South Africa toil in the field on day two of the first Test.

England piled up 593-8 before declaring in the final session after Bell fell one short of a double century, when he was caught and bowled by Paul Harris.

Kevin Pietersen was earlier out for a superb 152 and Stuart Broad made his highest Test score of 76 as England punished the wayward visiting attack.

South Africa were 7-0 when rain and bad light ended play at Lord's.

Bell became the first Englishman to be out for 199 in a Test match, but after coming under fire for his recent performances, he can be justifiably proud of a stunning innings.

It was once again England's day throughout and South African openers Graeme Smith and Neil McKenzie will be under immense pressure when they come out to bat on day three.

They will hope to fare much better than their much-vaunted pace attack, which seemed to lack not only ideas but basic control too as they struggled to control the swinging ball in the morning session.

606: DEBATE
red devil
Pietersen was not shy in making them pay, playing a series of brutal pulls and drives that sent anything remotely off target to the boundary ropes for four.

Dale Steyn and Makhaya Ntini struggled badly with their line and before long Jacques Kallis was brought on, the experienced all-rounder dropping a return catch off Pietersen, then on 133.

Bell, meanwhile, was moving serenely and assuredly towards a magnificent eighth Test century, bringing it up by driving Kallis into the covers for two.

The partnership was broken in the next over after a mammoth stand of 286, with Pietersen gloving Morne Morkel down the leg side straight to Mark Boucher off an attemped pull.

The pressure was suddenly on Paul Collingwood with England's number six desperately short of runs.

But after a brief rain delay he was given out for seven, supposedly caught at bat-pad off Harris - though replays showed the bat was nowhere near the ball.

Two balls after lunch England lost another wicket, with keeper Tim Ambrose edging Morkel to Smith at second slip for four.

Stuart Broad
Stuart Broad struck his highest Test score
Indeed Morkel's performance on his Lord's debut was one of the few positives the South Africans could take from the first two days of play in the series as he took 4-121 from his 34 overs.

But if they thought England's tail would fold, they reckoned without the ever-improving Broad, who seems to grow in confidence and ability every time he takes to the field.

He could have been dismissed early on, AB de Villiers missing the stumps with Broad miles out of his ground, but after that near-miss he proceeded to play the best innings of his fledgling career.

Bell and Broad batted wonderfully together, treating Harris with disdain at times and playing some gorgeous offside drives, before Bell brought up his 150 with a stunning shot down the ground off Steyn.

The 500 came up courtesy of an overthrow from the ragged South Africans, before Broad got to 50 with a crunching back-foot cover drive as England reached tea on 535-6.

It was a similar story after the interval and it looked like Broad was moving toward a maiden first-class century until he tried to hit Harris out of the ground and was bowled for his highest Test score, ending a fine seventh-wicket partnership of 152.

Bell was unperturbed, reverse-sweeping Harris for four before rain twice halted his march towards a double hundred.

But the second stoppage did for Bell, the Warwicks batsman dancing down the track to Harris and gifting the bowler a return catch to fall agonisingly short of the landmark.

Michael Vaughan immediately declared and South Africa had to see off 3.2 overs before the rain came again and play was abandoned for the day.




see also
South Africa in England in 2008
14 Nov 07 |  Cricket


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