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Bell maintains fine form

Sussex CCC

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Ian Bell compiled a dominant 57 on his return to LV= County Championship duty as Warwickshire enjoyed the better of a rain-shortened opening day against Sussex at Edgbaston.

Bell, fresh from a host of impressive displays for England in the NatWest Series against West Indies and Australia, settled back into the four-day format impressively in his only outing prior to next week’s first Investec Test against South Africa at the Kia Oval.

He wasted no time imposing himself with a confident 86-ball innings as Warwickshire progressed to 175 for three in the 65 overs possible.

Bell, who made a century in his previous appearance in the competition against Durham in May, arrived at the crease after Monty Panesar had broken an opening stand of 66 between Varun Chopra and Will Porterfield by having the Ireland captain lbw playing back.

Ian Bell

Ian Bell drives with authority during a typically attractive 57. He helped Warwickshire lay a solid platform before rain returned at Edgbaston

Bell tucked his first ball from Panesar off his legs for two and still seemed to be in one-day mode when he skipped down the pitch and cut the slow left-armer for four.

Panesar held his nerve and Bell was forced to play more circumspectly, although there were plenty of opportunities for him to attack at the other end.

Former Warwickshire seamer James Anyon suffered on his return to Edgbaston, where Sussex have not won since 1982, as Bell collected three fours in five balls.

Bell's only scare came when he survived a confident lbw appeal from Magoffin on 39.

He reached his fifty from 83 balls with his ninth four, which was straight-driven off Magoffin, and added a further boundary when he drove the same bowler through the covers.

A classy innings eventually came to an end when the England batsman pulled Magoffin to Chris Nash at midwicket.

Bell added 80 for the third wicket with Warwickshire captain Jim Troughton, who topped 20 for the first time in the championship this summer and was unbeaten on 42 when rain arrived during the tea interval and halted play early.

Porterfield drove confidently in his 43 and dominated his partnership with Chopra, who managed just one scoring stroke in 39 balls at one stage.

Chopra survived the morning session but fell three balls after lunch when he was lbw reaching forward to Panesar. The spinner gained early turn from a dry pitch that had been prepared for last week's washed out one-day international between England and Australia.

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