| Ian Bell in action on Day II of the first Test at Lords on Friday. (AP) |
London: Ian Bell came of age as an England batsman on Friday with a monumental 199 on the Day II of the first Test against South Africa at Lords.
Bell found an ideal lieutenant in the increasingly impressive Stuart Broad, who stroked 76 at number eight, as England reached a seemimgly impregnable 593 for eight when Michael Vaughan declared.
South Africa were seven without loss in reply before rain and bad light brought a premature end to the days play.
Although Bells abundant talent has never been questioned his reaction to pressure has after a series of soft dismissals when seemingly well set.
His response at Lords was to help Kevin Pietersen (152) revive England from a shaky 117 for three on Thursday with a fourth-wicket partnership of 286, a record against South Africa.
After Paul Collingwood (7) and Tim Ambrose (4) had fallen cheaply either side of lunch, Bell and Broad added 152 for the seventh wicket, another England record against the South Africans.
They were assisted by some more inaccurate bowling from the South African pace attack, sloppy ground fielding and stolidly unimaginative captaincy from the worlds most experienced leader Graeme Smith who rotated his bowlers mechanically and rarely altered the field.
South Africa also did themselves no favours when Dale Steyn peppered tail-ender Ryan Sidebottom with some short-pitched deliveries after a rain break in the final session.
Pietersen, 104 not out overnight, survived a caught-and-bowled chance to Jacques Kallis after scoring 133 to reach his fifth Test score over 150.
He was finally dismissed after hitting 20 fours and a six, caught behind by Mark Boucher from an attempted hook off Morne Morkel.
Collingwood, to his dismay, was given out caught at short-leg by Hashim Amla off slow left-armer Paul Harris and Ambroses wretched international form continued when he edged Morkel to Smith at first slip.
Smith persisted with Harriss guileless spin, allowing Broad to play himself in, while Bell unveiled a series of exquisite strokes.
He glided Morkel to the boundary and backward point and played two immaculate backfoot strokes for four off Harris and Kallis. An on-drive of textbook perfection against Kallis brought up his 150 and the 50 partnership.
Smith took himself out of the solitary slip position in a totally defensive field setting to Makhaya Ntinis bowing. Bell responded by cutting a boundary and feathering the next ball past Boucher to the boundary.
Left-hander Broad again looked a batsman of true Test pedigree, dealing competently with short-pitched deliveries at his body and driving fluently.
He reached his second Test fifty from 85 deliveries and a maiden century was a distinct possibility when he was bowled hitting across the line against Harris. His innings took only 124 balls and included 10 fours.
Bell was eventually out hitting a simple catch back to Harris, who rolled on the ground in gratitude. He had batted for 496 minutes and hit 20 fours and a six from 336 balls before becoming the first Englishman to perish one short of a double-century.
Batsmen dismissed for 199 in Tests
England’s Ian Bell on Friday was dismissed for 199 in the first innings of the first Test against South Afica at Lord’s. Following are the batsmen who were dismissed on the same score in Tests:
- Mudassar Nazar (Pak) — vs India in Faisalabad (1984-85)
- Mohammed Azharuddin (Ind) — vs Sri Lanka in Kanpur (1986-87)
- Matthew Elliott (Aus) — vs England in Leeds (1997)
- Sanath Jayasuriya (SL) — vs India in Colombo (1997-98)
- Steve Waugh (Aus) — vs West Indies in Bridgetown (1998-99)
- Younis Khan (Pak) — vs India in Lahore (2005-06)
- Ian Bell (Eng) — vs South Africa at Lord’s (2008)
Note: Andy Flower (Zim) — 199 n.o. vs South Africa in Harare (2001-02)