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Ashes: Ian Bell hits sparkling century in Hobart

Tour match, Hobart (day two of four):
Australia A 230 v England 335-5
Dates: 17-20 November Start time: 2330 GMT (16-19 Nov)
Coverage: Live scorecard on BBC Sport website & Ceefax; regular bulletins on BBC Radio 5 live; also live on Sky Sports 1
Match scorecard

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Bell delighted with batting form

Ian Bell hit a terrific 121 in an unbeaten partnership with Paul Collingwood (74) worth 198 as England enjoyed another good day in Australia.

Replying to Australia A's 230, England reached 335-5 and have two days left to push for a win in the final warm-up match before the Ashes series starts.

They were in some trouble when Kevin Pietersen fell for five to leave the score on 137-5 in chilly Hobart.

But Bell and Collingwood engineered a strong recovery in the final session.

The most fluent of the pair, indeed of the whole England batting line-up, was Warwickshire man Bell, 28, who is appearing in his fourth Ashes series having failed to make a big impression in any of his previous three.

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He came down the wicket to hit Steve Smith for consecutive fours as he moved smoothly into the 90s before majestically cracking the leg-spinner through the covers to bring up his 32nd first-class century.

While Collingwood took on a quieter, accumulative role, Bell played in a more authoritative manner and took more of the strike. He had faced 158 balls when stumps came, hitting 15 fours and one six, and then said he was in the mood for more.

"I really enjoyed it, it seemed to be quite fluent and it was nice to go out there and hit the ball out of the middle of the bat," he told BBC Sport.

"It was nice to take the form from the nets out to the middle and hopefully I can make it a big hundred.

"There are always areas the guys can improve on but we have two days more preparation to do that. The dressing room is happy but always striving for more."

Kevin Pietersen walks off after his dismissal for five
It was not a good day for number four Kevin Pietersen

Bell, who has been shuffled up and down the order during his international career, said he was happy to bat at six.

"Playing against spin bowling, which is what you tend to get first up batting at six, is a strength of mine. It seems to be working at the minute and if that's helping the England team move forward I'm happy to do the job."

England began day two against Australia A on 22-1 with Alastair Cook and night-watchman Monty Panesar batting together.

Panesar got to 13 before falling to Clint McKay, leaving Cook and Trott to negotiate a showery period either side of lunch. Despite the interruptions, Cook was showing some nice form in particular.

Among his seven fours was a chip over midwicket, having come down the pitch to the other spinner, Steve O'Keefe.

An attempted repeat soon afterwards brought his downfall, however, when he mistimed his shot and was well-caught by McKay at deep mid-on.

Trott appeared destined to add a half-century of his own, but remains the only member of England's top six without one on this tour.

Jonathan Trott and Alastair Cook
Jonathan Trott and Alastair Cook put on 87 together

A badly executed pull off Mark Cameron lobbed up to mid-off, and was an uncanny replay of his embarrassing dismissal against South Australia last week. Cameron had overstepped, but the no-ball was not picked up by the umpire.

Pietersen then went cheaply, in mystifying circumstances, when he accounted for no turn at all from O'Keefe and was clean bowled as he missed with his defensive prod.

The right-hander's past failings against slow left-armers have been well documented and this was another prime example.

Three England wickets had gone down for the addition of 13 runs at that point, leaving Collingwood and Bell with much to do.

Bell needed little time to settle, and Collingwood, after starting in scratchy fashion, also played some pleasing shots, including a pulled six off Smith.


Listen to the Ashes live on Test Match Special on BBC 5 live sports extra, Radio 4 LW and online (UK users only) - series starts 25 November 2010. Archive: Relive past Ashes series



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see also
Thursday's Ashes gossip column
18 Nov 10 |  Cricket
Tremlett puts England in charge
17 Nov 10 |  England
Katich in shoulder injury scare
17 Nov 10 |  Australia
Bullish Gooch backs bowling call
16 Nov 10 |  England
England bowlers to miss warm-up
15 Nov 10 |  England
Australia selectors drop Hauritz
20 Nov 10 |  Australia
Jonathan Agnew column
15 Nov 10 |  England
Live cricket on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Cricket
England in Australia 2010-11
08 Oct 09 |  Cricket


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