England post 325 in Rajkot

Ian Bell scored 85 as England posted 325 for four

Ian Bell scored 85 as England posted 325 for four

First published in National Sport News © by

England's batsmen enjoyed a productive day as they posted 325 for four in the first one-day international against India at Rajkot.

After losing both warm-up matches, openers Ian Bell (85) and Alastair Cook (75) calmed any nerves with a carefree stand of 158 - England's highest opening partnership against India.

Kevin Pietersen, playing an ODI for the first time in 11 months after returning from retirement, added 44 and Samit Patel hit a brisk 44 not out at the end - but there was no chance for debutant Joe Root, who was unused at number seven.

Bell got England going with nine off Ishant Sharma's opening over, steering a short ball down to third man for the first boundary of the day then picking up four overthrows on a quick single.

He cut Bhuvneshwar Kumar for four more but the bowler almost had his revenge when he found the edge, only to see the ball fly between wicketkeeper and slip. That was a rare early win for the bowlers, Cook joining in the fun with three boundaries off Sharma's third over.

Bell brought up his half-century in 60 balls with a reverse sweep of Ravindra Jadeja, while Cook looked increasingly fluent at the other end. He reached his own 50 at exactly a run-a-ball and hit his first six down the ground with a confident strike off Ravichandran Ashwin.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni turned next to Suresh Raina and, improbably, the occasional bowler had a hand in removing both batsmen. First Bell was run out for 85 by Ajinkya Rahane after Cook had turned Raina round the corner, and Cook also failed to convert what had seemed an inevitable hundred after top-edging Raina to short fine leg.

That double strike brought Pietersen and Eoin Morgan together and the pair were forced to take the batting powerplay despite not being fully set. But it was a productive period for England, who scored 44 runs without further loss in the five-over spell.

Ashok Dinda ended the partnership when he managed to cling on to a tough caught and bowled chance, sending Morgan back for 41. He also accounted for Pietersen, who lofted to long-off with 44 to his name.

The need for quick runs saw Craig Kieswetter and Patel sent in ahead of Root, and the pair did their job with some clean hitting at the close. They put on an unbeaten 70 in 6.1 overs, Kieswetter (24 not out) hitting two sixes and Patel peppering the boundary on his way to an unbeaten 44 in 20 balls.

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