Strauss, Bell centuries advance England's Test match cricket cause

Published: Monday, March 24, 2008, 8:26 [IST]
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Century-makers Andrew Strauss and Ian Bell were batting New Zealand into submission in the third cricket Test as England went to tea Monday on day three at 302 for three in their second innings.

Their unbroken 162-run stand, with Strauss on 114 and Bell on 106, had carried England to a 387-run lead.

They had also further dented New Zealand's morale by batting through the second new ball without any worries.

The only wicket to fall in the first two sessions of the day, after England resumed at 91 for two, was first innings centurion Pietersen who was neatly caught by Ross Taylor at slip.

Pietersen went to turn Daniel Vettori down the leg side only to have the ball deflect off the back of the bat for Taylor to pick up a diving catch.

Strauss, meanwhile, continued undaunted by his first innings duck and after arriving at the crease in the first over of England's second innings with the early dismissal of captain Michael Vaughan.

The South African-born left-hander brought up his 50 driving Chris Martin straight to the boundary, and his 11th Test century came slashing Martin for four.

He offered one chance when on 62 when he struck out at Vettori but the ball hit Matthew Bell in the chest at short leg and bounced out.

Bell, who arrived at the wicket with Pietersen's dismissal, went hunting runs from the start and proved the wicket was a batsman's paradise despite New Zealand's spectacular collapse when they lost nine wickets for 65 runs on the second day.

Unlike Strauss who took 225 deliveries to reach his milestone, Bell hooked Martin to the boundary to bring up his 100 in 150 balls in an innings that included 16 fours and two sixes.

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