Trott, Bell propel England to 327/8 against Ireland

Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell raised a big century stand that powered England to 330 for 6 in 50 overs against Ireland at Bengaluru

By Jamie Alter

Bengaluru: March 2, 2011

Andrew Strauss and Kevin Pietersen provided the foundation and Jonathan Trott who equalled the record for quickest to 1,000 ODI runs – and Ian Bell the foil as England put Ireland to the sword in Bengaluru.

Each of the four batsmen, when well set, fell to shots which could have been avoided but their ability to forge two vital partnerships negated the customary batting Powerplay wobble and helped form a total that should prove way too much for Ireland.

Pietersen, in his most fluent innings of the tournament, provided the platform while Strauss countered his flowing boundaries with steady accumulation and smart running. Pietersen was away in the opening over, walking across his stumps to flick Boyd Rankin for four.

Rankin was taken for further boundaries, one edged and the other driven straight with precision, while Strauss deftly late cut and top-edged a six before he was bowled for 34 when walking across his stumps.

Pietersen wasn t overly aggressive, but when he decided to up the tempo the ball disappeared. Trent Johnston was driven over mid-on for six, a stunning on-drive brought up his fifty from 40 balls, and John Mooney was pulled for a stunning pick-up six over midwicket. Pietersen repeatedly favoured the leg side: 47 of his runs came on the onside, just 12 on the off.

When Pietersen was caught behind trying to reverse-paddle Paul Stirling s off-breaks, Ireland breathed a sigh of relief but not for long. Bell s measured approach formed the perfect alliance with Trott, who began with a couple of well driven boundaries and settled into a brisk tempo.

On a big ground and a slow outfield, they placed the ball in the gaps, ran hard to take all the twos and threes on offer, and managed to punctuate steady periods with boundaries to leave Ireland huffing and puffing.

Trott s was the best innings of the day. His calm and unflappable approach was just what England needed after Pietersen s irresponsible dismissal in the 17th over. He never strayed from the conventional method, ran hard for his runs there were only nine fours in his 92 and he paced his innings excellently. His first fifty took 55 deliveries, and his next 40 came from 35.

Bell was slower to get going his first boundary came off his 27th ball faced but he was soon ticking along at nearly a run a ball without playing a shot in anger. When the field spread Bell settled into accumulation mood, matching his partner shot for shot. When he d played himself in, he stepped out to George Dockrell and collected six and then pulled out the cross-batted shot when Rankin pitched short.

In fact, Bell s and Trott s handling of Dockrell, the talented spinner who had stymied Bangladesh, was instrumental in denting Ireland s spirit. Bell s fifty came from 55 balls, and he celebrated the moment by unfurling a cheeky paddle over short fine leg. With Trott, Bell added 167 in 26 overs before he was smartly held by a tumbling Stirling at midwicket.

As they did against India, England s middle-order then collapsed. With a hundred inevitable, Trott looked for a big shot over extra cover and was bowled by Mooney. Matt Prior was cleaned up when exposing his stumps, Paul Collingwood miscued to mid-on, Michael Yardy was foxed by a slower ball from Johnston, and off the final ball of the innings Mooney got Tim Bresnan to collect his fourth wicket.

Six wickets had fallen for 49 runs, but it was the space between England s second and third which should make all the difference.

Brief Scores: England 327 for 8 in 50 overs (Jonathan Trott 92, Ian Bell 81, Kevin Pietersen 59; John Mooney 4 for 63, Trent Johnston 2 for 58) vs Ireland.

(Jamie Alter is a freelance cricket writer, having worked at ESPNcricinfo and All Sports Magazine.His first book, The History of World Cup Cricket, is out now)

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