Bell praise for England and Pietersen

PA Sport
Ian Bell was pleased with England's batting display against Haryana
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Ian Bell was pleased with England's batting display against Haryana

England are hoping Kevin Pietersen's fresh beginnings bear plenty more fruit after he rubber-stamped his 'reintegration' with a heartening century.

Pietersen breezed to an 86-ball hundred, one of six England batsmen to find it relatively easy going against a largely inexperienced Haryana attack, in the tourists' final warm-up match before next week's first Test. The consequence by stumps on day one at the Sardar Patel Stadium B Ground was a commanding total already of 408 for four.

Pietersen's share was 110, before he retired out, while openers Alastair Cook (97) and Nick Compton (74) and then Ian Bell (57no) all coasted past 50 too, and the latter said afterwards: "Everything's gone really well for us as a group, and for Kevin."

Bell added: "He's very much a guy who just likes to get bat on ball, and I think he'll be very happy going into the first Test match with that kind of innings under his belt.

"I'm sure he'll be a lot happier today, having scored a hundred. But he'll be a lot happier (still) if he scores one in the next Test."

Only Pietersen's team-mates and England management will know whether they need to treat him with kid gloves, or otherwise, to try to help him reach his full potential.

They know they have a proven match-winner back in their midst, but Bell for one is wary of feeding expectation levels.

"We don't want to put too much pressure on him to be the main reason we win a Test series," he said.

"It would be great if he could come out and play some innings like he has in recent times.

"We know if he gets in he can turn a Test match, so we want him in the best nick we can. The pressure is a lot more on the bowler when he does things like that."

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