Bell & Pietersen hit record partnership against India in 4th Test

Tags: India tour of England - 2011, India v England 4th Test at London - Aug 18-22, 2011, India, England, Ian Ronald Bell, Kevin Peter Pietersen, record partnership

Published on: Aug 20, 2011

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Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen piled up England's highest partnership against India as the hosts took control of the fourth Test at The Oval.

Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen piled up England's highest partnership against India as the hosts took control of the fourth Test at The Oval.

The duo, who came together with England on the back foot, sapped the life out of the tourists with huge hundreds in a phenomenal stand of 350 on the second day.

Pietersen made 175 and Bell finished unbeaten on 181 - his fourth Test century of the summer - as England closed on a commanding 457-3.

Together they treated a capacity crowd to a batting exhibition, their contrasting styles making the spectacle all the richer for the 23,500 spectators.

Both went past 150 in the final hour as they surpassed Graham Gooch and Allan Lamb's partnership of 308 against India at Lord's in 1990 and posted England's seventh highest stand against any team.

It was particularly galling for an India side who had dominated the opening session of the day with a vastly improved bowling and fielding display.

They took the first wicket with the fifth ball of the day when Alastair Cook pushed lazily at Ishant Sharma and edged to VirenderSehwag at first slip for 34.

England did not score a run until the last ball of fourth over, with Andrew Strauss finding scoring particularly difficult. The captain added only two runs to his overnight 38 in 32 balls before he wafted his bat loosely at a ball from Sreesanth and nicked through to MS Dhoni.

With India in the ascendancy for the first time since the early stages of the second Test at Trent Bridge, Bell and Pietersen batted cautiously early on.

Pietersen almost fell in the last over before lunch when a glance off his hips dropped just short of leg slip Suresh Raina.

But the momentum swung dramatically after the interval, with Bell and Pietersen going on the offensive and cracking 59 runs in 10 overs - eight more than England mustered in the entire first session.

Pietersen slapped two AmitMishra full tosses for four and Bell brought up his fifty with a flurry of four boundaries in five balls.

With the series back in its default mode of England dominance, there was a certain inevitability in both men reaching three figures.

Bell got there first with a square cut off Raina and Pietersen brought up his ton with a pull to the fence off the first ball after tea.

Attempting to repeat the shot off Sharma's next ball, he top-edged it in the air and was dropped by GautamGambhir as he back-pedalled from mid-on, banging his head into the bargain.

It was a costly error as the onslaught continued with Pietersen charging down the wicket to club boundary after boundary and Bell keeping his own score ticking over with some textbook strokeplay until he let himself go by heaving the hapless Mishra for two consecutive sixes.

Pietersen smashed Raina over his head for his 27th four but was out next ball as he mis-hit a drive and fed a straightforward return catch to the bowler. He departed to a standing ovation, safe in the knowledge that his exploits with Bell had put England in a great position to go on and record a series whitewash.

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