• Remembering Ian Bell’s 199 against SA

    Former England batsman Ian Bell turned 38 years old on Saturday, 11 April 2020. About 12 years ago, Bell fell one run short of a double century against the Proteas in the first Test at Lord’s in London.

    Bell capitalised against a rather samey Proteas bowling attack comprising four right-arm seamers – Makhaya Ntini, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Jacques Kallis – and the ineffective left-arm spin of Paul Harris.

    Bell batted in fifth position after openers Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook had shared a century alliance and captain Michael Vaughan perished for just two.

    Bell and fellow middle-order batsman Kevin Pietersen, who hit 152, combined for a 286-run fourth-wicket partnership. Burgeoning all-rounder Stuart Broad later struck 76 down the order on an evidently flat track.

    Bell was the last to fall in the first innings, as Harris held a sharp return catch. The 199 marked the highest of Bell’s Test career, which was surpassed three years later en route to 235 against India at The Oval in London.

    Ian Bell and Graeme Smith

    Middle-order batsman Ashwell Prince struck a near standalone ton in the Proteas’ dismal response of 247 all out to England’s 593-8 declared.

    Vaughan duly enforced the follow-on and opened the bowling with frontline spinner Monty Panesar and part-timer Pietersen. A flat pitch that was later labelled a poor advertisement for Test cricket yielded centuries for Graeme Smith, Neil McKenzie and Hashim Amla in the fourth innings.

    Even Cook bowled an over in the closing throes of a tame draw.

    Photo: Gallo Images

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