England take slender lead
Nottingham (AFP): Ian Bell held firm for England on Friday, as they looked to build a commanding lead on the third day of the first Test against...
Nottingham (AFP): Ian Bell held firm for England on Friday, as they looked to build a commanding lead on the third day of the first Test against Australia at Trent Bridge. At tea, England were 230 for six in their second innings, 165 runs ahead, with Bell 56 not out and Stuart Broad one not out. Given Australia had been 115 for nine in their first innings before teenage debutant Ashton Agar made 98 - the highest score by a Test match No 11 - and shared a record 10th-wicket partnership of 163 with Phil Hughes (81 not out), the question was how large a target would England need to set their arch-rivals? This innings, which saw him pass 6,000 runs in his 89th Test, was an especially important one for Bell. A criticism of the 31-year-old Warwickshire right-hander is that he has all too rarely scored runs when England most needed them. And after 35 innings without adding to his tally of 17 Test hundreds, England dearly wanted the stylish Bell to go on to three figures with this knock. England resumed Friday on 80 for two, with captain Alastair Cook 37 not out and Kevin Pietersen 35 not out. But they lost both senior batsmen before lunch. Pietersen looked in good touch while making 64 out of a third-wickets stand of 110, striking 12 fours, but fell when he played on to James Pattinson, the most threatening of Australia's seamers.Left-handed opener Cook spent more than four painstaking hours compiling exactly 50 runs. Cook's exit left England 131 for four as a tense capacity and sun-drenched crowd, watching for the most part in near silence, applauded politely. Brief Scores: England 215 & 266/6 (Ian Bell 66no, Kevin Pietersen 64, Alastair Cook 50); Australia 280.