Cricket

Bell blossoms under Flower

2010-07-09 07:36
Ian Bell (File)

England - Ian Bell said he was delighted to have put advice from England coach Andy Flower into action during a match-winning return to the one-day side here at Trent Bridge.

Bell made an unbeaten 84 as England, chasing a modest target of 251, beat Bangladesh by six wickets in their series opener here on Thursday in what was the 28-year-old's first one-day international since facing India in Bangalore in November 2008.

Often criticised for failing to impose himself, Bell restated his one-day case with a limited overs best 158 for the second string England Lions in their tied triangular series match against India A on Tuesday.

Thursday saw a much less spectacular innings but perfectly suitable nontheless, after England lost wickets in quick succession to be 93 for two against a Bangladesh side boasting several spinners.

"Andy Flower spoke to me about a few things when he left me out of the side last year, mainly about playing spinners in the middle overs and it's started to pay off," Bell explained.

However, the Warwickshire batsman was only playing because regular No 3 Kevin Pietersen, who featured throughout the recent 3-2 one-day series win over Australia, was out with a thigh injury, although the selectors insisted they would have rested him from the trio of games with Bangladesh in any vcent.

"I know where I am in this squad and I have to keep knocking on the door and working hard," Bell said after his 16th fifty in 80 ODIs.

"But it was nice to have the opportunity to go out and score some runs.

"I guess we have a line-up that has been fantastic over the last 12-16 months and I've got to keep working hard to be around this squad.

"I'm one of the reserves but it's nice to have had that time with the Lions and to be in good form.

"Today (Thursday) it was just a matter of playing the situation."

England captain Andrew Strauss, belying his own reputation as a sedate batsman with 50 off 37 balls on Thursday, hailed Bell's batting flexibility.

"The great thing with Belly is he can pretty much bat anywhere in the order; he's a pretty versatile cricketer," Strauss said.

"When you see him play innings like this, the top of the order seems like the more logical place for him but he plays the spinners well to so to come in lower down is not an issue," the left-handed opener added.

Strauss continued: "That's part of the reason he's back in the squad. He is adaptable and playing in a more aggressive manner now that puts opposition players under pressure."

This series continues at Bristol on Saturday.

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