Bell ton overshadowed by late wickets

Australia

England batsman Ian Bell recorded a second century in two knocks, and his third in three successive Ashes Tests, but Australia still looked on top at stumps on day one at Lord's, with England on 289 for seven.

England batsman Ian Bell recorded a second century in two knocks, and his third in three successive Ashes Tests, but Australia still looked on top at stumps on day one at Lord's, with England on 289 for seven.

The day started and ended with wicket flurries for the visitors, the first one seeing three wickets fall for 28 runs and the latter with Steve Smith taking three wickets for 12 runs. Between those flurries, Bell (109) put on big stands with Jonathan Trott (58) and Jonny Bairstow (67).

England won the toss and chose to bat first, and made one change to their side. Tim Bresnan was preferred after Steve Finn was rather below par at Trent Bridge, and Alastair Cook needed to be able to call on someone with more control to take the pressure off James Anderson and Stuart Broad.

The Australians made two changes, replacing number three batsman Ed Cowan with Usman Khawaja, and bringing in right-arm fast bowler Ryan Harris for leftie paceman Mitchell Starc. Before play could begin though, they all lined up to meet the Queen.

The inclusion of Harris proved to be a master stroke as he took two of the three wickets to fall in the first half hour. It was Shane Watson who got the first strike though, trapping Cook in front for 12. It was plumb, and umpire Marais Erasmus got his Test off to a winning start.

Harris then removed Joe Root and Kevin Pietersen in quick succession. Root was given out LBW by Kumar Dharmasena, but the batsman reviewed it. Initially it looked like he may have had an inside edge, but numerous replays showed it was pad first. At any rate, there was not enough evidence to overturn the original out decision.

Pietersen made only two runs before edging Harris behind to Brad Haddin, leaving Trott and Bell to steady the knock. The Warwickshire duo put on 52 runs by the lunch break, with Bell on 23 and Trott on 34.

The batsmen picked up the pace substantially after lunch, and Trott in particular sent the ball crashing to the ropes a few times. He made his half century in quick time, but was only able to reach 58 before top-edging Harris to Khawaja at deep mid wicket.

Bell was again the more sedate partner, but his century in the first Test seemed to rebuild his confidence and he too bagged his half ton in the afternoon. Bairstow was also solid, but survived being bowled by Peter Siddle thanks to a tight no-ball call by the third umpire.

England put on 103 runs in the afternoon for just the one wicket, but the evening scorecard did not make for as pretty reading. Most of the session was all England, until Clarke made the inspired change to bring leggie Smith on.

With Ashton Agar not bowling due to a sore left hip, Smith was required to make use of the old ball. Before this, Bell had recorded his second ton in two knocks, while Bairstow had moved into the 60s as they recorded a century stand.

This bliss was broken just before the new ball was due, when Smith induced an edge from Bell, who was caught in the slips by Clarke. Bell has long been thought to have a weakness against leg spin, and this did nothing to temper that idea.

Bairstow followed soon after, for 67, though his dismissal was all his fault. Smith sent down a low full toss and Bairstow merely popped it back to the bowler, who took an easy catch. Matt Prior fell four overs later, caught behind by Haddin for six.

Oddly, James Anderson came in as a night watchman ahead of Stuart Broad, joining Tim Bresnan in the middle. Australia took the new ball for exactly two overs, and Anderson reached stumps on four and Bresnan on seven.

England: Alastair Cook, Joe Root, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Jonny Bairstow, Matt Prior, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Greaeme Swann, James Anderson

Australia: Shane Watson, Chris Rodgers, Usman Khawaja, Phil Hughes, Michael Clarke, Steve Smith, Brad Haddin, Ashton Agar, Peter Siddle, James Pattinson, Ryan Harris

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