Ian Bell neared his 15th test century after scoring an immaculate 84 not out as England reached 130 for two at lunch on the third day of the second test against India at Trent Bridge on Sunday.
Kevin Pietersen was also unbeaten on 20 as England led the tourists by 63 runs in their second innings. The ball was still swinging as it has done throughout the match but the hot and sunny conditions have made batting easier.
The only blot of the morning for the home side was the loss of captain Andrew Strauss, who followed a short ball from Shanthakumaran Sreesanth just outside off stump and edged to the wicketkeeper for 16. Alastair Cook was out on Saturday.
Although there appears to be no real pressure on Strauss's position in the side, he has scored just one test century in the last two years and has not passed 32 in his last eight innings.
Runs came freely in the session as Bell hammered 14 of his 15 boundaries in the morning, during his 106-ball innings.
Bell, batting at three in the absence of Jonathan Trott who injured his shoulder on Saturday, raised the 50 with a sweetly-timed clip off his legs from Sreesanth to the vacant square leg boundary.
Bell raised his half-century by nonchalantly flicking an Ishant Sharma delivery on leg stump away to the midwicket boundary. The ball sped to the fence and was yet more evidence of Bell's fine timing.
Pietersen was watchful for the most part and came through a bold but inevitable experiment from India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni when Yuvraj Singh was introduced to try to exploit Pietersen's vulnerability to left-arm spin.
Yuvraj bowled with a silly point, a short mid-off and a short extra cover but was unsuccessful in his two overs.
England lead the four-match series 1-0.