England in command as Bell, Pietersen hit tons

Last Updated: Fri, Aug 19, 2011 18:40 hrs

London: Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen slammed fluent centuries as England put themselves on course for a clean sweep as they took complete command of the fourth and final cricket Test against a hapless India here Friday.

Bell, unbeaten on 181 off 304 balls, and Pietersen (175 off 232) virtually made a mockery of the pedestrian Indian bowling attack as the hosts reached a mammoth 457 for three at stumps on a sunny second day at the Oval.


Resuming at 75 for no loss, England lost openers Alastair Cook and Andrew Strauss early, but Bell and Pietersen stitched a massive 350-runs partnership -- England's best for the third wicket against India -- to pile on the agony on the lacklustre Indians who again found the going tough on a good batting track.

Barring the pre-lunch session during which S Sreesanth and Ishant Sharma tasted success, none of the Indian bowlers looked like taking wickets till Suresh Raina sprang a surprise by removing Pietersen at the fag end of the day.

It was a dominating batting display by the two as Bell and Pietersen struck their second century of the four-match series.

Pietersen had struck a double in the first Test at Lord's while Bell cracked 156 in the second at Trent Bridge.

India v England

While it was Bell's 16th Test century and fifth of the year, Pietersen recorded the 19th of his career, thereby taking his average above 50 for the first time in two years, against a team that is down 0-3 and has just surrendered the top ranking in Tests to the hosts.

Pietersen, who got to the three-figure mark with a pulled four over mid-wicket off Ishant Sharma, was on the verge of being dismissed by the lanky seamer soon after reaching the landmark, but Gautam Gambhir, running backwards, gave him a reprieve to add to the woes.

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