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London: Apr 28, 2014
Two England batsmen enjoyed contrasting fortunes on the opening day of the latest round of County Championship matches on Sunday. Ian Bell made 122 out of a Warwickshire total of 263 all out against Nottinghamshire in a First Division match at Trent Bridge and the worth of those runs was soon apparent as the hosts declined to 43 for six at the close.
Bell scored his runs in front of a crowd including new England coach Peter Moores, national selector James Whitaker and Mick Newell, the Nottinghamshire coach who recently joined the selection panel. “It’s always a good time [to make a century],” Bell said after stumps. The Warwickshire strokeplayer is now one of England’s most-experienced players as they look to bounce back following a 5-0 Ashes thrashing in Australia. “Obviously, with what’s happened in the winter, people are looking for reactions — and I think everyone is showing the hunger and desperation to get English cricket back on track,” he added.
But while Bell had the satisfaction of reaching three figures on Sunday, it was a different story for Yorkshire’s Joe Root. At Lord’s, the ground where he made a Test-best 180 against Australia last year, Root was out for a duck on his return to county action after breaking his thumb playing for England against the West Indies last month.
Root is looking to regain his place in the England set-up ahead of next month’s one-day international away to Scotland and the subsequent home series with Sri Lanka and India. But he was one of four wickets for Middlesex fast bowler Steven Finn, also looking to revive his international career after a wretched tour of Australia.
Root lasted just five balls before he was lbw to Finn, who took four for 50 in a Yorkshire total of 178 where opposing paceman Liam Plunkett weighed in with an unbeaten 56.
In his brief Test career, Root has been shunted up and down the order but, with Kevin Pietersen now in international exile he is eyeing the number four berth the South Africa-born batsman used to occupy for England. “If I can get more opportunities in the summer to bat where I am batting now then I need to make big scores,” said Root.
“It hasn’t happened today (Sunday) but I’m very hungry to make sure that if I do get more opportunities, I really put my name forward for a place in the team.” Turning to the 6ft 7in Finn, Root added: “If he bowls anything like he did today, he’s definitely good enough to play for England. “He’s obviously a fantastic bowler, he’s made a really good start to the summer and I’m really pleased for him.”
Middlesex’s Australian-born openers Chris Rogers and Sam Robson managed just eight runs between them as the home side finished the day on 64 for three. Wickets tumbled at Wantage Road, 18 going down in the day as Lancashire were shot out for 118 only for England spearhead James Anderson to take five for 37 in Northamptonshire’s 133 for eight.
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