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AUCKLAND: Ian Bell stroked an unbeaten century as England amassed an impressive 357 for seven at the end of the first day of their match against a New Zealand XI in Queenstown yesterday.
Bell (127 not out) anchored the innings after England lost three wickets before lunch, with Kevin Pietersen dismissed for 14, as the visitors were reduced to 81 for three. All three wickets fell to Otago allrounder Jimmy Neesham.
“Some of the one-day wickets we’ve played on here have been absolutely flat,” Bell said.
“So to play on a wicket a little bit more in the bowlers’ favour was a good test - and it was nice to come through that. There’s enough grass on there, a lot left on that pitch, so I think the new ball will be key.
“There was just enough seam movement all day, and I hope it will be the same throughout the game.” -
Bell joined captain Alastair Cook, who fell shortly after for 60, before the Warwickshire righthander combined with Joe Root (49) and with Test wicketkeeper Matt Prior (41) to solidify the innings.
The four-day match is the only warm-up England’s test team will receive before their three-match series against New Zealand begins at Dunedin’s University Oval on March 6. AGENCIES