England on top after Bell reprieve

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Ian Bell survived one of international cricket’s most bizarre incidents on his way to an exemplary 159 as England regained the initiative in the second npower Test at Trent Bridge.

Ian Bell survived one of international cricket’s most bizarre incidents on his way to an exemplary 159 as England regained the initiative in the second npower Test at Trent Bridge.

Bell already had an outstanding 15th Test century under his belt. But when he appeared to be run out in highly controversial circumstances, England’s advantage over India was still tenuous in a seesaw contest which was to reach stumps on day three with the hosts on a second-innings 441 for six and 374 in front.

Bell was given out on 137, after a protracted discussion between umpires Marais Erasmus and Asad Rauf, having already made his way off for tea following the final ball of the afternoon.

The ruling attracted a hostile and noisy crowd reaction as the tourists returned to the field on the resumption, until Bell was spotted striding back out after them to bat again with Eoin Morgan.

Prospects of lingering ill-feeling were averted once Bell was granted his reprieve, after England coach Andy Flower and captain Andrew Strauss asked their India counterparts to retract their appeal.

After a five-minute consultation with their team during the remainder of the tea interval, Duncan Fletcher and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni agreed to do so.

Bell managed only another 22 runs, but he and Morgan (70) added 69 more together to help England turn a handy lead into one which surely gives them better than even prospects of going 2-0 up on the world’s number one team with two to play.