Cook, Bell get England flying

It was difficult to judge how many runs England needed to feel impregnable in the opening ODI in Rajkot. There was probably not such a figure. Certainly, a score of 300 did not come close and as serenely as Ian Bell and Alastair Cook proceeded to give England a flattering start, India would have have felt that they could chase just about anything.

Bell and Cook had both sailed well beyond the half-century mark at halfway, Bell looking so comfortable at the top of England’s order in 50-over cricket that it is now hard to believe that it took him so long to end up there. There was nothing outlandish in his strokeplay, just a succession of attractive strokes which kept England’s innings ticking along at a rate not too far short of six an over.

England will need much more than six an over by the end of the innings, in fact they may need closer to seven, because this was the most amenable of surfaces and Bell, who had already made a hundred in an England warm-up, a defeat against Delhi, soon took advantage. His form has been a boon to England’s new limited-overs coach, Ashley Giles, their productive relationship at Warwickshire when Giles was director of cricket restated at international level. Read more