NOTTINGHAM: England reached 441-6 at stumps on Sunday to lead India by 374 runs after a controversial third day in the second test at Trent Bridge.
Ian Bell hit 159 from 196 balls but only after India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni reversed a controversial dismissal when Bell was run out for 137 on the final ball of the afternoon session.
Bell stopped running when he thought the ball had gone over the boundary line, only to be run out by India with the ball still in play. England captain Andrew Strauss and coach Andy Flower successfully asked India to reconsider the appeal during tea.
"Dhoni led a team meeting in which the issue was discussed and there was unanimity that we should reinstate Bell," India batsman Rahul Dravid said. "I think if the tables had been turned I don’t think our guys would have felt nice about it, and that was one of the things we discussed."
Bell assumed Eoin Morgan had hit Ishant Sharma’s final delivery before tea to the boundary. Bell and Morgan ran three runs with Praveen Kumar appearing to misfield the ball at deep square leg. Kumar had in fact stopped the ball reaching the boundary but, rather than complete a fourth run, Bell stopped running and walked off the field.
India removed the bails and Bell was given out after third umpire Billy Bowden allowed India’s appeal for a wicket to jeers from the home fans.
The umpires walked out to cries of "Cheat! Cheat! Cheat!" but this quickly turned to cheers when fans saw Bell return.
"We thought it had gone for four," Bell said. "I certainly wasn’t attempting a run or anything. It was probably the right decision for the spirit of the game, but it was naive on my part to assume the ball was dead."
Eoin Morgan made 70, Matt Prior 64 not out and Kevin Pietersen 63. India’s best bowler was Praveen Kumar, who claimed 2-93.
India had scored 288 in its first innings in reply to England’s 221 and England began the morning session on 24-1, still 43 runs behind.
The overnight batsmen, Bell and Strauss, had been lucky to survive Saturday’s evening session but they eased their way to a 50 partnership and looked well set until Strauss fell in the 20th over.
Sreesanth’s next ball missed Pietersen’s bat by millimeters but, with Bell, he edged England into the lead.
While Pietersen was cautious, Bell was in confident form, stroking his way to 50 from 73 balls by nudging Ishant Sharma through square leg for four.
Using cuts and glances, Bell dominated the unbroken partnership with Pietersen, scoring 52 of the duo’s 73 runs.
Pietersen grew in confidence after lunch and brought up the century partnership in the 45th over, pulling Sharma through midwicket for four.
Pietersen reached 50, from 98 balls, with a single off Kumar and Bell brought up his century, from 129 balls, nudging Sreesanth to fine leg for two.
The bowling looked tired with Harbhajan Singh in particular struggling and a demoralised India contributed to its own downfall with a number of misfields.
Sreesanth finally broke through in the 56th over, getting Pietersen caught behind, a wicket he celebrated by blowing kisses to the fans in the New Stand who had ironically cheered his fielding moments beforehand.
That looked like being India’s only wicket of the session until Bell was run out.
The generosity of Dhoni’s decision became obvious in the evening session as Eoin Morgan reached his 50 with a six, from 60 balls.
Bell advanced to 150 from 196 balls and the pair completed a century stand but Bell was finally caught at first slip by Laxman off Yuvraj Singh, shaking hands with India’s players as he left.
Morgan then fell to the second delivery with the new ball, caught behind off Kumar.
India’s refusal to allow the Decision Review System to be used for lbws again returned to haunt them with the next ball.
Jonathan Trott, batting at seven after injuring his shoulder on Saturday, was lucky not to be given out lbw to Kumar.
Although Trott fell in Kumar’s next over, caught by Rahul Dravid at first slip for 2, Tim Bresnan should have been lbw two balls later but Kumar’s appeal was turned down.
Replays showed the ball would have hit off stump and Bresnan and Matt Prior went on to build a century partnership, scoring at a rapid rate with England scoring 417 runs in the day.
Prior reached 50 from 38 balls and Bresnan was unbeaten on 47 at stumps.(AP)