Steady England set for big total

England reached 266 for three on day one of the second Ashes Test in Adelaide.

    England's Ian Bell took 140 balls to reach 50

    England captain Andrew Flintoff won the toss and had no hesitation in electing to bat on a flat, dry track that looked to have plenty of runs in it, which proved to be the case as three England batsmen passed 50 with one close to a century.

    Openers Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook looked like they might put on a big opening stand with very little movement in the air or off the pitch for the Australian opening bowlers.

    Strauss again appeared to be in fair touch getting to 14, but once again he contributed to his own dismissal when spooning a shot off his pads to a diving Damien Martyn at short midwicket off the bowling of the impressive Stuart Clark.

    Cook then caved to the pressure of the slow scoring rate and the deadly accuracy of Clark as he prodded at a wide delivery that moved slightly off the seam, edging it straight into the waiting gloves of Adam Gilchrist to be out for 27.

    Slow but steady

    Ian Bell and Collingwood then combined to try and bore the Australians out of the game, scoring at little more than two runs per over. However, the pair did protect their wickets well as they looked to construct a worthwhile partnership.

    Grafting runs rather than taking a cavalier approach, Collingwood reached his 50 off 113 deliveries while Bell eventually got to the half century milestone after facing 140 balls.

    Their partnership may have been slow, but it was effective as Ricky Ponting and his bowlers tinkered with field placements and alternated short bowling spells, even introducing part-time spinner Michael Clarke who bowled tidily without worrying the batsmen.

    After hitting Brett Lee for consecutive fours, Bell tried one pull shot too many, skying the ball to Lee who almost collided with Justin Langer when taking the catch off his own bowling to have the England number three out for 60.

    The big-hitting Pietersen then came to the crease and released the shackles, cutting consecutive fours off a tiring Shane Warne late in the day as part of his 50 from 70 deliveries, while Collingwood, not to be out done, pulled Warne for two consecutive boundaries of his own as he closed in on his third Test century.

    The Australians took the second new ball with five overs remaining in the day, but with the two England batsmen well set there were no chances offered, Clark finishing with the day’s best figures of 2 for 25 off 15 overs.

    With Collingwood and Pietersen looking solid, England's patient performance on day one has set them up to build a big first innings total on day two and put them in an excellent position in the second match of the five Test series.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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