Sun, Sep 10, 2006 - Page 22 News List

Bell gives England rare one-day victory

AFP , NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND

England's Ian Bell hits a four against Pakistan during the 4th Natwest International one-day match at Trent Bridge in Nottingham on Thursday.

PHOTO: AFP

Ian Bell's unbeaten 86 guided England to an eight-wicket win over Pakistan in the fourth one-day international at Trent Bridge on Friday as the hosts kept the five-match series alive.

England's first victory in a limited overs contest against major opposition this season, left them 2-1 down and with a chance of squaring the series in today's Edgbaston climax.

England skipper Andrew Strauss told Sky Sports: "There are still slight errors but overall it was a better performance and we're starting to turn things around. The guys are going to enjoy it tonight, there's no doubt about that."

His Pakistan counterpart Inzamam-ul-Haq praised the hosts who were registering only their fifth win in 25 contests in shorter forms of cricket.

He said: "I think 270-plus is a good score on this wicket but overall England are playing better, their bowlers played very well."

Set 236 for victory, England finished on 237 for two with 22 balls to spare after Bell put on 110 for the second wicket with Strauss (78) and an unbroken 89 with Kevin Pietersen (41 not out off 48 balls).

Bell faced 111 balls with 10 fours and finished two short of his career-best 88, made against Pakistan in last week's washed-out opener in Cardiff.

He said: "As I got myself in and the light got darker it got easier by the end."

Earlier Abdul Razzaq's dynamic 75 not out revived Pakistan as the tourists recovered from 165 for eight to 235 for eight.

Razzaq, whose runs came from just 72 balls with five sixes and five fours, counter-attacked having been dropped on six, and launched a furious assault that saw Pakistan score 47 runs off their final two overs.

Together with Rana Naved (nine not out) he put on 70 in 28 balls after spinner Michael Yardy took three wickets on his one-day international debut.

The left-armer finished with miserly figures of three for 24 in 10 overs and together with off-spinner Jamie Dalrymple, who dismissed Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq, was responsible for a middle-order collapse that saw three wickets lost for two runs in 11 balls.

In reply, Strauss opened with fellow Middlesex left-hander Ed Joyce.

Ireland-born Joyce replaced Marcus Trescothick, dropped for the first time in his international career 48 hours after saying he was unavailable for next month's Champions Trophy tournament in India while he recovered from a stress-related illness.

There was controversy in the fourth over when Strauss, on five, edged Mohammad Asif and first slip Inzamam claimed the catch.

Strauss, who told Inzamam "no way," stood his ground and Daryl Harper, after consulting with on-field colleague Mark Benson, called for replay assistance.

Television pictures were inconclusive and third umpire Ian Gould gave Strauss not out.

Inzamam, facing disciplinary charges following Pakistan's forfeit of the fourth Test at The Oval last month, where he fell out with another Australian umpire in Darrell Hair, risked further action as he continued to talk animatedly to Harper.

But there was no doubt when Joyce, on 13 at the time, edged Asif and wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal took an excellent catch, diving low to his left.

New batsman Bell then made sure Razzaq didn't have it all his own way with three fours off the pace bowling all-rounder in as many balls, including one textbook cover-drive

Strauss then completed his fifty and England, at the 25-over halfway mark, were well placed at 118 for one.

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