County Championship: Ian Bell century gives Warwickshire lead against Hampshire

Ian Bell
Ian Bell is playing his first game as Warwickshire's new county captain
Specsavers County Championship Division One, Ageas Bowl
Hampshire v Warwickshire (close, day three)
Hampshire 202: McLaren 84*, Barker 5-58, Clarke 3-43
Warwickshire 283-6: Bell 130*, Woakes 66, Edwards 3-80
Warwickshire 5 pts, Hampshire 2 pts
Match scorecard

Warwickshire captain Ian Bell made his first century in 10 months to give the England selectors a nudge and earn a first-innings lead against Hampshire.

Bell's six-hour vigil for an unbeaten 130, his 51st first-class hundred, has given the Bears a slim hope of victory.

After Monday's lost day, it took just four overs for the Bears to wrap up Hampshire's first innings for 202.

Warwickshire then struggled to 132-5, before Chris Woakes (66) helped Bell steer them to 283-6 at the close.

Building on Keith Barker's five-wicket haul on the first day, Rikki Clarke got the third day off to a good start for Warwickshire with two early wickets, starting with Ryan McLaren, to earn him figures of 3-43.

Having rescued Hampshire from 87-7 on Sunday, McLaren only added one to his overnight score before playing a Clarke bouncer onto his own stumps, departing for 85.

West Indian Fidel Edwards then slapped a four straight down the ground to earn a batting point before holing out, leaving James Tomlinson stranded on 23.

Edwards then gave Hampshire the perfect start by removing both openers, former Bears captains Ian Westwood and Varun Chopra.

But helped by partnerships of 49 with Jonathan Trott (27) and Sam Hain (25), and with Hampshire short of the injured Reece Topley, Bell took control.

Just a day after his 34th birthday, and on the same day that the sad news of James Taylor's early retirement broke, he shared a 151-run stand with Woakes, his fellow England hopeful, although the latter fell lbw to Edwards with the final ball of the day.

Warwickshire captain Ian Bell on James Taylor's retirement:

"It is an immensely sad day. We couldn't believe it when we were told this morning. Thoughts are with Titch and with a speedy recovery.

"He is one of the top blokes in English cricket. I know Chris Woakes is very close and is really upset. It is shocking news."

Hampshire captain James Vince on James Taylor's retirement:

"It has been extremely sad. It is never nice when news like that comes out especially for someone who is so dedicated and hard working for the sport. To have it taken away like that is heart-breaking.

"He has always been an excellent performer and his numbers have been excellent. He had the world ahead of him in terms of international cricket and an extremely sad day."

View from the commentary box

BBC Coventry & Warwickshire's Clive Eakin:

"Warwickshire may have to pay a price for the way two of their players dominated the third day. The performances of Ian Bell and Chris Woakes in sharing a stand of 151 suggest they may be away from their county again and back in the England set-up before very long.

"Bell's century may not have been the most entertaining of the 51 he has scored in first class cricket, but it was calm, confident and faultless, apart from surviving a stumping chance on 95.

"Woakes paced his innings impressively and, having bowled well on the first day, has enhanced his international prospects.

"Hampshire will take encouragement from the way they kept Warwickshire tied down for long spells despite being a bowler light due to Reece Topley's injury and spinner Liam Dawson in particular bowled very tightly."