Bell and Cook make India toll

Published: Wednesday, August 22, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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Ian Bell and Alastair Cook both scored their maiden one-day international hundreds as England made 288 for two against India at the Rose Bowl here Tuesday in the opening fixture of their seven-match series

Bell, whose hundred came off 100 balls, finished on 126 not out in what was his 48th one-day international. In all the 25-year-old faced 118 balls with one six and 10 fours.

Opener Cook, 22, made 102, his innings also featuring his first fifty at this level in what was his sixth one-day international.

Kevin Pietersen, on his Hampshire home ground, added late impetus with an unbeaten 33 off 25 balls.

He helped Bell, who played some extravagant shots through the covers, add 67 with 78 runs in all coming off the last 10 overs.

It was the first time since 2005, when Andrew Strauss and current captain Paul Collingwood both made hundreds against Bangladesh at Trent Bridge, that two England batsmen had scored centuries in the same one-day international innings.

Cook and Bell shared a second-wicket stand of 178 under the Rose Bowl floodlights.

However, England - who had been 210 for one after 40 overs after India captain Rahul Dravid won the toss and elected to field in overcast conditions - fell short of 300.

And it remains to be seen if an attack featuring the fit-again all-rounder Andrew Flintoff, in his first England match this season following a third operation on his left ankle, will be able to defend the score.

Essex left-hander Cook and fellow opener Matt Prior made a steady start in the face of some accurate bowling from Zaheer Khan and Ajit Agarkar.

But a stand of 43 ended in the 11th over when Prior, who had lofted Khan for a straight six, skied the left-arm quick to Dravid at mid-on.

Cook then completed his fifty off 74 balls with four fours.

At the half-way stage England were 108 for one. They had not got away from India but their old-fashioned approach meant they did have wickets in hand.

Teenage leg-spinner Piyush Chawla was hoisted over mid-wicket by Cook before Bell, upping the tempo, tried to upset his length by going down the pitch to drive him for six.

Bell's leg-glanced boundary off Sachin Tendulkar saw him to a 54-ball fifty with a six and five fours.

Runs were coming briskly now with England's second wicket duo putting on a hundred in 112 balls and, with 20 overs left, the hosts were well-placed at 146 for one.

Chawla's first seven overs cost an expensive 42 runs, with Dravid using seven bowlers in all as he searched for a breakthrough.

India's fielders didn't help their cause with some slothful outfielding that allowed England extra runs.

Cook swotted away RP Singh for four through mid-wicket to go to 99 before taking a single off the same bowler as he reached three figures in 122 balls with eight fours.

However, going for a similar shot four balls later, he played on to the bowler to leave England 221 for two in the 42nd over.

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