England v India: Ian Bell & Jos Buttler help hosts take charge

By Stephan ShemiltBBC Sport at the Rose Bowl
England's Ian Bell
Bell shared a century stand with debutant Jos Buttler
Third Test, Rose Bowl (day two):
England 569-7 dec v India 25-1
Match scorecard

Ian Bell returned to form with a first hundred in almost a year as England dominated the second day of the third Test against India in Southampton.

Bell made 167, sharing century stands with Gary Ballance and debutant Jos Buttler, who dazzled on the way to 85 from 83 balls.

When Buttler fell, England declared on 569-7, leaving India 14 overs to bat at the end of the day.

In that time, James Anderson removed Shikhar Dhawan to leave the tourists 25-1 and in severe danger of surrendering the 1-0 series lead they earned with victory in the second Test at Lord's.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan on BBC Test Match Special
"It was going to be a matter of time before Jos Buttler played Test match cricket. What you see is a guy who reads the game really well. He needs a bit of time to get going, get his eye in and read the pace of the pitch. Over time, he is going to be an absolute match-winner in Tests and one-day cricket for England. When he gets in he is going to drive captains nuts. He's an exciting talent."

Bell, like England captain Alastair Cook, was badly in need of a score after passing 50 only four times in his previous 19 Test innings.

That lean spell, going back to his last century in the fourth Test of the 2013 Ashes, had yielded just 476 runs at an average of 26.44.

But, after Cook scored 95 on day one, Bell, who should have been given out lbw to Pankaj Singh on nought, cashed in to deliver a 21st Test ton.

Resuming on 16, the Warwickshire man scored all around the wicket on a good batting surface, showing deft touch to play his trademark late cut and dishing out some heavy treatment to Ravindra Jadeja.

Three times, he danced down the track to loft the left-arm spinner for a straight six, the second of which brought up his century.

Bell's fluency was matched in the morning session by Ballance, who moved his first-day hundred on to 156.

With the left-hander guiding to third man and clipping through the leg side, his dismissal came out of nothing in that it was both a surprise and a poor decision by umpire Rod Tucker.

Ballance was given out caught behind off Rohit Sharma when the ball had missed the bat and hit his back leg, with England gaining some consolation from the fact that the part-time off-spinner was able to find exaggerated turn and bounce.

India, using their pace trio of Pankaj, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami in one-over spells, did check England with the wickets of Joe Root and Moeen Ali in the afternoon session.

Root, perhaps frustrated after scoring only three from 43 balls, advanced to edge Kumar behind, while Moeen again fell to the short ball, toe-ending a hook off the same bowler to second slip.

England's top Test runscorers
8,900 - Graham Gooch8,114 - Geoff Boycott
8,463 - Alec Stewart7,728 - Mike Atherton
8,257 - Alastair Cook7,624 - Colin Cowdrey
8,231 - David Gower7,249 - Wally Hammond
8,181 - Kevin Pietersen7,068 - Ian Bell

The visitors will also feel that they should have had Buttler without scoring when the wicketkeeper, making his Test bow in place of Matt Prior, prodded Kumar to second slip.

With the ball going low to Ajinkya Rahane, the on-field umpires could not confirm it had carried and Buttler was reprieved when replays proved inconclusive.

He scored his first Test runs from the next delivery and, after tea, took advantage of being dropped on 23 by Dhawan at first slip off Shami, producing the sort of strokeplay that brought him the fastest ever one-day international hundred by an England batsman against Sri Lanka in May.

Following Bell's example by hitting Jadeja straight, Buttler also reverse-swept the spinner for four on the way to a maiden half-century.

After Bell holed out to mid-on off Kumar, Buttler opened his shoulders and received yet another let-off when Mahendra Dhoni missed a simple stumping off Jadeja. Twice Pankaj was belted for six to raise hopes of a debut hundred.

But a slog at Jadeja was edged onto the stumps, immediately prompting Cook to declare and leaving the India openers the task of repelling the new ball in the gathering gloom.

It was one that was beyond them as Anderson, from round the wicket, produced a beauty that had Dhawan fencing to Cook at first slip.

England's Gary Ballance celebrates reaching 150
Ballance increased his highest Test score to 156 but was unfortunate to be given out caught
India captain Mahendra Dhoni and paceman Pankaj Singh
It was a long day in the field for India, while paceman Pankaj Singh took 0-146 on his Test debut
England's Jos Buttler reverse-sweeps
Limited-overs regular Buttler played some characteristic reverse sweeps on his Test debut
England's James Anderson celebrates a wicket
Anderson struck before the close to remove the out-of-form Shikhar Dhawan

Top Stories