FORTUITOUS: Batsman leads England to win over West Indies
SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND: IAN Bell smashed a century to lead England to a 114-run win over West Indies on Saturday, but admitted that he had enjoyed a double dose of good fortune.
Bell made 126 as England beat the tourists under the Duckworth/Lewis method in a rain-affected series opener at the Rose Bowl to go 1-0 up in the three-match series ahead of tomorrow's clash at The Oval.
The 30-year-old's innings, the cornerstone of England's 288 for six, came just a day after he'd to have stitches inserted into a chin wound after being struck in the face while batting in the indoor nets.
He was fortunate then and was left thanking his good luck a second time on Saturday when the West Indies were adamant he was out, caught behind for 23 off Ravi Rampaul.
But English umpire Richard Kettleborough rejected the paceman's raucous appeal.
Bell admitted he'd nicked the ball but, with few current batsmen following the example of retired Australia great Adam Gilchrist in 'walking', West Indies' Dwayne Smith said the incident was just part of the game.
Bell, asked if he'd edged the ball on 23, admitted: "Yes."
However, Smith -- whose 56 opening in place of the injured Chris Gayle was a rare highlight for the tourists -- said: "There was a sound but the umpire said 'not out', so we can't do anything about that."
Bell, opening the batting following the one-day retirement of Kevin Pietersen, marked his return to the side with just his second hundred in 109 matches at this level.
But it was his second at the Rose Bowl, having made 126 not out against India in 2007.
Bell finished England's 2-0 Test series win over the West Indies with an unbeaten 76 in rain-marred drawn Third Test at his Warwickshire home ground concluded on Monday.
England are the world's top-ranked test nation but they've struggled by comparison in one-day cricket and exited last year's World Cup after a 10-wicket quarter-final thrashing by Sri Lanka in Colombo.
However, this was their fifth successive one-day win after a 4-0 series sweep of Pakistan which saw Alastair Cook, their captain in 50-over cricket, score back-to-back hundreds in Abu Dhabi before Pietersen followed up with two consecutive centuries in Dubai.
West Indies had far higher hopes for this series as opposed to the tests, although they suffered a setback when Gayle, arguably the world's best one-day opener, was ruled out of Saturday's match with a shin injury. AFP