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Bell century puts England in command

Ian Bell's 11th test century helped put England in a commanding position at 399 for seven against Bangladesh at lunch on day two of the second and final test at Old Trafford today.

cricket Updated: Jun 05, 2010 18:03 IST

Ian Bell's 11th test century helped put England in a commanding position at 399 for seven against Bangladesh at lunch on day two of the second and final test at Old Trafford today.

Bell was bowled by a sharply spun delivery from Shakib Al Hasan for 128 just 15 minutes before the interval. He combined in a valuable sixth-wicket partnership of 153 with Matt Prior, who was 80 not out. Graeme Swann (20) was lbw to Abdur Razzak to the last ball before lunch.

Bangladesh, who need a win to draw the series, managed those two late breakthroughs in the session but too often they bowled short and could not replicate the discipline of day one.

Bell, on 87 overnight, reached his century with a square cut through point for three off Shakib. On his dismissal his average against Bangladesh dropped from over 200 to 158, in his sixth test against the Tigers.

Prior, resuming on 21, grew in fluency and confidence though could have perished when on 31 after his mistimed pull shot found Mahmudullah running in from the square leg boundary, but the fielder spilled the opportunity while diving forward. Once past 50, Prior reverse-swept Razzak for four through point and straight drove another boundary next ball.

Bell's innings, characterised by patience and nimble footwork to the spinners, was immaculately constructed. Two fours in the third over of the day off Shakib settled him once more though the slow, turning pitch has never allowed the batsmen to dominate completely.

The Bangladesh flag at the ground flew at half-mast in respect for those who died in the Dhaka blaze on Thursday. The Bangladesh players continued to wear black armbands.