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Bell, Collingwood grind out England recovery

Published: Friday, December 1, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
 
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Adelaide:Ian Bell and Paul Collingwood played disciplined cricket against tight Australian bowling as they led England's recovery from early setbacks on day one in the second Ashes Test.

Both scored unbeaten half-centuries after the loss of openers Andrew Strauss (14) and Alastair Cook (27) before lunch, stonewalling Australian attempts at another breakthrough on a benign batting pitch.

At tea on Friday, England, 0-1 down in the series following their heavy defeat in Brisbane, were 144 for two with Bell and Collingwood both not out 50 after captain Andrew Flintoff won the toss.

The pair were scoring at a snail's pace of around 2.4 runs an over in perfect batting conditions as Australia's bowlers maintained a miserly line and length and captain Ricky Ponting operated tight field placements.

Bell batted for 176 minutes up to tea after overcoming early difficulties against leg-spinner Shane Warne.

Collingwood, who sacrificed a century in Brisbane when he charged Warne on 96 and was stumped, had spent 149 minutes at the crease.

Medium-pacer Stuart Clark followed up his seven wickets in Brisbane with the scalps of Strauss and Cook inside his first six overs in the morning session.

Strauss continued his poor series after Gabba scores of 12 and 11 when he miscued a leading edge to a diving Damien Martyn at mid-on and then had Cook caught behind by Adam Gilchrist.

Australian pace spearhead Glenn McGrath was passed fit to play after concern over a heel injury, while left-arm spinner Monty Panesar was left out of an unchanged England eleven.

McGrath had to convince his skipper Ponting that he would be able to complete a five-day match after needing painkillers to see out Australia's 277-run win over England in the first Gabba Test on Monday.

England decided against playing attacking finger-spinner Panesar, despite coach Duncan Fletcher's comments this week that he was strongly considering using both spinners on an Adelaide pitch expected to take turn.

The Adelaide Oval is traditionally a high-scoring ground with the Australians amassing 500-plus in three of their last four Tests here with four batsmen scoring double-centuries -- West Indies' Brian Lara (226) last year, Justin Langer (215) against New Zealand in 2004 and Ponting (242) and Indian Rahul Dravid (233) in the 2003 Test loss to India.

Scorecard:

England 1st innings: A. Strauss c Martyn b Clark 14, A. Cook c Gilchrist b Clark 27, I. Bell not out 50, P. Collingwood not out 50, Extras (nb3) 3, Total (for two wkts) 144

Fall of wickets: 1-32, 2-45

Bowling: Lee 13-1-45-0, McGrath 12-3-28-0, Clark 13-2-23-2, Warne 17-4-37-0, Clarke 4-1-11-0

Overs: 59

AFP

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