Bell back with a bang
A typically elegant Ian Bell shone on his return to the top of England’s one-day international order with a century in an emphatic victory over West Indies in the opening game of the NatWest Series at the Ageas Bowl.
The right-hander, who was passed fit following a blow on the chin in the nets yesterday, opened the batting for the first time since the 2011 World Cup with panache.
Bell’s 126 from 117 balls equalled his limited-overs best, an unbeaten total versus India at the same venue in 2007, and underpinned England’s commanding 288 for six.
Despite a sprightly half-century from Dwayne Smith, after a rain delay, West Indies subsided to a 114-run defeat under Duckworth-Lewis with Tim Bresnan taking 4-34.
Bell and Jonathan Trott smoothly recovered from the loss of Alastair Cook for nought in the first over by adding 108 until the latter fell for 42.
Once Ravi Bopara cheaply followed, Bell reached his second limited-overs international century and the fifth by an England opener in as many ODIs.
Bell departed for 126 via a leading edge, which gave wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin his fourth catch of the innings, either side of Eoin Morgan and Bresnan making 21 apiece.
Late hitting from Craig Kieswetter and Stuart Broad, who were unbeaten on 38 and 22 respectively, set the Windies 289 to win.
The tourists, who won the toss, were without Chris Gayle due to a left shin injury. Smith, opening in Gayle’s place, gave them a swift start with 56 from 44 deliveries.
However, Bresnan having Smith caught behind prompted a slide to 127 for five from 23 overs when rain interrupted play for just over an hour.
The players returned with West Indies needing a D/L-adjusted 160 from 25 overs, but they subsided - losing their last five wickets for 45 runs.
West Indies Innings
6:47pm - ENGLAND WIN BY 114 RUNS!! WICKET! Narine c Kieswetter b Bresnan 0; WI 172ao, 33.4 overs - England wrap up victory as Kieswetter holds on low to his left after Bresnan induced the edge from Sunil Narine.
6:42pm - WICKET! Rampaul c Trott b Swann 9; WI 172/9 - The left-hander holes out to deep midwicket and the game is almost over.
6:40pm - Bravo picks up a one-bounce four of his own, hammering Bresnan over mid-off.
6:35pm - Rampaul lifts Swann for a one-bounce four to midwicket before adding two more as Bravo really struggles between the wickets.
6:31pm - WICKET! Russell c Morgan b Bresnan 7; WI 157/8 - The seamer pitches short and the right-hander top-edges a simple chance. It is almost over now for the Windies.
6:25pm - WICKET! Sammy c Bopara b Swann 11; WI 155/7 - Swann replaces Broad and gets one to spit at the right-hander, who lobs a dolly to extra-cover. Darren Bravo, who is struggling with a groin strain, comes to the wicket.
6:20pm - Sammy flicks Anderson to long-leg for four and, later in the over, Russell adds another through straight midwicket shortly before the Windies' 150 arrives.
6:10pm - Andre Russell requires treatment after slipping as he turned for a second run. However, replays suggest he tweaked a muscle shortly before he tried to change direction. He soon resumes his innings.
6:07pm - WICKET! Samuels c Swann b Anderson 30; WI 137/6 - The right-hander tamely chips to midwicket to significantly strengthen England’s victory prospects.
6:03pm - Samuels powerfully cuts Broad, bowling from the Pavilion End, for four.
5:58pm - Play has resumed with a revised target of 287, meaning West Indies need 160 from 25 overs. Samuels strokes Anderson for four through point.
5:40pm - Better news as the rain has stopped, the covers either side of the wicket are off and play is due to resume at 6pm. Two overs have been lost and the powerplay will be four overs.
5.30pm - The rain relents sufficiently for the covers to come off one half of the square and the umpires to head out to the middle. However, it starts falling again, the umpires head off and the covers come back on. One ray of hope for a resumption is, given play could go until 7.30pm, no overs have been lost yet.
5pm - The covers are on and the umbrellas are still up. It does not look like there will be a resumption any time soon. However, if the rain relents, the outfield should dry quickly.
4:48pm - RAIN STOPPED PLAY - WI 127/5; Samuels 20, Sammy 0. The players go off as the rain becomes heavy, forcing the spectators to rush for shelter. With five wickets down, the tourists need to have 171 to win at this point under Duckworth/Lewis.
4:43pm - WICKET! Pollard c Morgan b Broad 3; WI 127/5 - Morgan takes a stunning catch, diving to his left at point, to get rid of of the dangerous Pollard. Light rain is still falling.
4:24pm - The completion of 20 overs means there will be a result. The bowling powerplay yielded 25 runs and three wickets.
4:31pm - WICKET! DJ Bravo lbw Finn 8; WI 118/4 – Finn raps the right-hander on the back pad from the Northern End. With rain beginning to fall, that swings the Duckworth/Lewis calculation in England’s favour.
4:23pm - Samuels flicks Bresnan over point for four and Dwayne Bravo does likewise to Broad through midwicket.
4:18pm - WICKET! Ramdin lbw Bresnan 22; WI 103/3 - The experiment to promote the wicketkeeper to number three yields modest dividends as the right-hander is plumb in front, stuck on the crease. He does not bother to review.
4:15pm - Broad replaces Swann and Marlon Samuels steers behind point for two to bring up the tourists’ 100.
4:08pm - WICKET! Smith 56 c Kieswetter b Bresnan; WI 95/2 - Smith goes for another pull and edges behind, giving the hosts the breakthrough they desired.
4:01pm - Graeme Swann comes on from the Pavilion End and, at the end of the over, England take the bowling powerplay at the earliest opportunity.
3:55pm - FIFTY! Smith (38b 6x4 2x6) - The right-hander pulls Broad for an almost identical maximum to his one off Finn, heralding his milestone and the half-century alliance of which he has made 41.
3:52pm - Smith lofts Bresnan over mid-off for four more to continue the tourists’ impressive start to the chase.
3:41pm - Tim Bresnan replaces Finn and induces a leading edge from Ramdin that falls just over short extra-cover as the compulsory powerplay costs 59. Broad takes over from Anderson.
3:36pm - By the narrowest of margins Smith, coming back for a second off Anderson, survives being run out via Ian Bell’s throw from deep midwicket. With the 50 up, the right-hander lashes through wide mid-on for four.
3:31pm - Anderson responds to Finn’s expensive over by keeping the next down to two, but Smith continues to attack the latter with a four to fine-leg.
3:22pm - Smith goes after Finn, smashing him down the ground for four, over square-leg for six and to the cover boundary as 14 come from the over.
3:19pm - WICKET! Simmons b Anderson 15; WI 25/1 - Having twice clipped four off his pads in the over, Simmons plays on via his back leg. With Darren Bravo nursing a groin strain, Denesh Ramdin somewhat surprisingly comes in a three.
3:15pm - Like his first over, Finn’s second costs just two. He is justifying the decision to begin with him rather than Stuart Broad.
3:08pm - Smith punches Anderson off the back foot to the cover boundary for the first four of the innings.
3pm - James Anderson begins from the Pavilion End. Both openers, Lendl Simmons and Dwayne Smith get off the mark. Steven Finn starts economically from the Northern End.
2:23pm - END OF INNINGS: ENG 288/6; Kieswetter 38, Broad 22 - Kieswetter struggles against Bravo's mix of slower balls before Broad finds a boundary over point. Excellent stuff from the lower-order batsman, who completes the over with successive twos to leave West Indies needing a daunting 289 to win at the Ageas Bowl.
2:18pm - Narine limits Kieswetter and Broad to seven from the penultimate over.
2:12pm - Rampaul does well to stop Kieswetter’s fierce return aerial hit, which cannot be considered a chance, but the right-hander immediately smashes four down the ground. Broad then pulls six over square-leg as 15 come from the over.
2:07pm - England’s 250 arrives towards the end of the 45th over. Can Kieswetter and Stuart Broad lift the hosts to a really imposing total?
2pm - WICKET! Bresnan run out 21; Eng 245/6 - Bresnan is fractionally short of his ground, coming back for a second off Samuels thanks to Smith’s excellent throw from deep midwicket.
1:57pm - Bresnan hoiks Bravo down the ground for four to overtake Kieswetter.
1:54pm - Kieswetter, on 17, loops what is almost a return catch towards Samuels, but the ball falls just out of the bowler’s reach.
1:43pm - Tim Bresnan’s first scoring shot is a cover-drive off Bravo for four as the batting powerplay yields 36.
1:40pm - WICKET! Bell c Ramdin b DJ Bravo 126; Eng 216/5 - Bell tries to play a slower ball to leg, but gets a leading edge and loops a simple catch to the keeper. The batsman is congratulated by Sammy and leaves the field to a standing ovation.
1:35pm - Bell clips Rampaul off his hips to the fine-leg boundary and then cover-drives the same bowler for another four.
1:29pm - Kieswetter picks up his first boundary by guiding a bouncer to the long-leg rope. The 200 soon follows.
1:20pm - WICKET! Morgan b Samuels 21; Eng 187/4 - The left-hander plays on via an under-edge to bring Craig Kieswetter to the wicket. England are obliged to take the batting powerplay at the start of the next over.
1:18pm - FIFTY PARTNERSHIP - Bell drives Samuels for a single through point to herald the stand from 49 balls.
1:12pm - HUNDRED! Bell (95b 10x4 1x6) - With the field in, Bell drives Samuels through cover for two to reach his second ODI century.
1:06pm - Bell takes a single off the last ball of Russell’s over to go to 99. He will have to wait for the chance to reach three figures because a drinks break follows.
12:52pm - With England’s 150 up, Morgan finely sweeps Samuels for four and Bell cuts another to move into the 90s.
12:46pm - Rampaul replaces Sammy and Morgan neatly drives behind square for four as a Mexican wave goes round the ground, perhaps the spectators’ way of keeping warm. Bell then clips Rampaul to the midwicket rope.
12:42pm - WICKET! Bopara c Ramdin b Samuels 9; Eng 136/3 - Bopara goes in almost identical fashion to Trott, trying to run the ball to third man. Eoin Morgan gets going with a single to leg.
12:39pm - Sammy is back from the Northern End. Bell pulls a long-hop to the rope and later in the over moves to 80.
12:35pm - Part-time spinner Marlon Samuels replaces Narine and Bell reverse-paddles him for the first boundary in seven overs. Halfway through the innings, England are well-placed on 126 for two.
12:30pm - Bell and Bopara rebuild. The ropes are set well back so any boundary, particularly square of the wicket, is impressive.
12:20pm - WICKET! Trott c Ramdin b Narine 42; Eng 108/2 - The right-hander tries to punch off the back foot but gets an outside edge which the keeper, standing up, safely holds. New man Ravi Bopara gets off the mark with a single.
12:14pm - HUNDRED PARTNERSHIP - Trott drives Narine through extra-cover for three to continue a fine response to Cook’s fall. The stand has occupied 110 deliveries. The powerplay yielded 31 runs.
12:08pm - Darren Bravo is off the field with a groin injury. Johnson Charles is on as substitute. West Indies took the bowling powerplay at the end of the 15th over.
12:02pm - FIFTY! Bell (43b 6x4 1x6) - Narine returns at the Pavilion End and Bell immediately forces off the back foot for four to herald his half-century. Trott cutely reverse-sweeps to the boundary later in the over.
11:57am - Trott clips Dwayne Bravo, who is in his third over at the Northern End, off his hip for four. Drinks follow at the end of the over.
11:52am - Bell cuts Sammy slightly behind square for four, the first boundary in six and a half overs.
11:46am - Bell and Trott steal a run from an overthrow after Kieron Pollard’s slightly wayward return from the cover boundary.
11:42am - With the fielding restrictions lifted, Bell and Trott rotate the strike effectively. This is the first ODI in England with a different ball being used at either end, so each is still quite hard.
11:32am - FIFTY PARTNERSHIP - England reach 49 for one from the 10 compulsory powerplay overs. Trott pulls Darren Sammy, who has taken over from the Pavilion End, for a single to bring up the half-century alliance from 67 balls.
11:26am - Rampaul is confident he has Bell, playing away from his body on 23, caught behind but umpire Kettleborough thinks otherwise. The Windies have used their only review and Bell rubs further salt into the wound by powerfully cutting the bowler in front of square for four.
11:21am - Spinner Sunil Narine replaces Russell and draws a false shot from Bell, who inside-edges to fine-leg.
11:11am - Bell strikes an exquisite straight six off Russell to move into double figures and later in the over - which costs 18 - cuts, pulls and drives for four.
11:06am - Trott elegantly clips Russell through square-leg for the day’s first four, following a series of scoreless deliveries.
10:54am - Andre Russell opens from the Northern End, bowling two consecutive wides before Bell strokes him through cover for three - the first runs off the bat. Trott gets off the mark with a single.
10:50am - REVIEW - Rampaul raps Jonathan Trott on the front pad and West Indies review, but replays show the ball not clipping leg stump sufficiently to overturn umpire Kettleborough’s decision.
10:47am - WICKET! Cook c Ramdin b Rampaul 0; Eng 0/0 - Ravi Rampaul strikes with the third ball, finding the left-handed Cook’s outside edge and wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin does the rest.
10:45am - Umpires Kumar Dharmasena and Richard Kettleborough are first out to the middle and have been followed by West Indies plus England openers Alastair Cook and Ian Bell.
10:30am - Gayle’s omission is a blow for the near sell-out 14,000 crowd, but there are plenty of other big hitters on show today like Kieron Pollard and Craig Kieswetter.
England team: Alastair Cook (captain), Ian Bell, Jonathan Trott, Ravi Bopara, Eoin Morgan, Craig Kieswetter (wicketkeeper), Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, Steven Finn, James Anderson.
West Indies team: Dwayne Smith, Lendl Simmons, Darren Bravo, Marlon Samuels, Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo, Denesh Ramdin (wicketkeeper), Andre Russell, Darren Sammy (captain), Ravi Rampaul, Sunil Narine.
10:15am - WEST INDIES WIN TOSS AND BOWL. Bell has been passed fit but the big news is Gayle is out with a left shin injury. England have gone for four seamers in James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Tim Bresnan and Steven Finn. Graeme Swann is their sole spinner. For the tourists, Dwayne Smith will open the batting in place of Gayle and Marlon Samuels will bat at four.
10:05am - West Indies are set to select destructive opening batsman Chris Gayle for the first time since March last year after he resolved a dispute with the West Indies Cricket Board. He is not warming up with his team-mates, and did not practice yesterday, but that is just his style.
9:55am - England will shortly reveal whether Ian Bell is fit to play. Bell, who is set to take Kevin Pietersen’s place at the top of the order, suffered a deep gash in his chin while batting in the nets yesterday. It was later announced he has a possible nondisplaced fracture of the mandibular condoyle, which required 10 stitches. He is out in the middle warming up with his team-mates, though.
9:45am - Good morning and welcome to ecb.co.uk’s coverage of the first NatWest Series one-day international between England and West Indies at the Ageas Bowl on the outskirts of Southampton. It is overcast but, more pertinently, extremely windy, which could be the biggest obstacle for the players today. At least it is dry, and play is due to begin in an hour.