England take control of second Test (Roundup)

August 1st, 2011 - 2:11 am ICT by IANS  

Harbhajan Singh London, Aug 1 (IANS) England batted themselves to a commanding position in the second cricket Test, reaching 441/6 at stumps in the second innings, on a day when the Indian team’s gesture of reinstating centurion Ian Bell, who was run out in a bizarre manner, won the hearts of a packed Trent Bridge crowd.

The jeers from the packed stands turned into loud applause in the post-tea session and the crowd gave a standing ovation to Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his boys who showed how to play in the true spirit of the game.

Bell guided the England innings with a well-paced 159, facing 206 balls and hitting 24 fours. He and Kevin Pietersen (63) scored at a quick pace in the morning and England maintained the temp throughout. Resuming at 24/1, England piled up 417 runs Sunday at 4.6 runs per over.

At stumps, Matt Prior (64) and Tim Bresnan (47) were unseparated after a quickfire 122 runs.

England are ahead by 374 runs and have enough time at hand to consolidate the lead, bowl India out and take a 2-0 lead in the four-match series.

It did not help India that they were once again a bowler short. Harbhajan Singh could ball only nine overs because of a strain in his stomach and the workload passed onto the three pacers — Praveen Kumar, Ishant Sharma and S.Sreesanth who has so far done a commendable job.

The moment of reckoning came for the Indian team in the last ball before team. At the last ball before the tea, Morgan had flicked Ishant Sharma to deep square leg, where Praveen lunged to save the ball at the boundary rope. The fielder thought it was four and so did the England batsmen. But it wasn’t.

The throw came back but Bell was already out of his crease thinking it was tea even though the umpires had not called tea. The Indian fielders took off the bails and appealed for a run out, much to the shock of English batsmen.

The field umpires referred it to third umpire Billy Bowden, who ruled it in favour of India. The mood in the England dressing room turned sour as a bewildered Bell, clueless over his dismissal, and Morgan walked back.

The crowd booed the Indian team as they took the ground for the post-tea session. But the boos gave way to a round of applause when they saw Bell walking out with Eoin Morgan to bat. The crowd cheered the Indian team and gave a standing ovation.

The two umpires during the tea break gave the Indian captain a chance to withdraw his appeal against Bell. Dhoni and coach Duncan Fletcher consulted the team and there was near unanimity that Bell should be reinstated back and the spirit of the game should be protected.

England had entered tea 254/4 but resumed the last session at 254/3.

Bell did not survive long and was dismissed by Yuvraj Singh, caught by V.V.S. Laxman at slip.

Praveen was lethal with the new ball and dismissed Morgan (70) and Jonathan Trott (2), who was batting with a shoulder injury.

But Prior and Bresnan took the game away from India. They tonked the tired Indian bowlers all over the park. In the morning, England dominate as the bright sun eased out the track. The hosts began solidly to enter the lunch at 130/2, after wiping out the first innings defecit of 67 runs and establishing a lead of 63 runs.

Bell along with Pietersen exploited the conditions during the 162-run third-wicket partnership. Pietersen, who made an uncharacteristic slow start, too raised his game and runs came thick and fast for England before a capacity crowd.

Sreesanth broke the partnership when Pietersen edged to Dhoni. His knock came in 120 balls with the help of seven fours.

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