Bell hundred sets tough target

Bell hit 15 boundaries in his knock with a solitary six, putting on hundred partnerships with Moeen Ali (46) and Joe Root (69).

Gurinder Sandhu (2-49) impressed in only his second appearance for Australia, but the other bowlers struggled for the same control on a brilliant batting surface, as England reached 303-8 from their 50 overs.

England will have expected more having been 244-2 with Bell and Root still in with 10 overs to go but it should still be a tough ask for an inexperienced looking home side who are thin in the batting department, with David Warner, Shane Watson and captain George Bailey all missing from the side.

England were very positive, with their opening partnership problem now a thing of the past. Bell started the stronger with three fours off Mitchell Starc in the third over to get them on their way.

Although Ali is considered the aggressor of the pair, he did not get into the act till the ninth over, pulling the out-of-sorts Pat Cummins (1-74) for three straight sixes over deep-square-leg, after Bell had already raced to 37 off 27 balls.

In truth, Ali lacked his usual flair in his 48-ball knock, wafting at a few outside his off-stump on multiple occasions and struggling for timing when charging down the crease, so it was no surprise when he fell to a top edge when trying exactly that off James Faulkner.

James Taylor (5) disappointed, lasting only 14 balls before he toe-ended one to Faulkner at extra cover off Moses Henriques.

That brought Root to the crease who accumulated runs in his usual impressive style, racing through to 50 while hardly playing a shot in anger.

Although when he departed, skying Cummins to Aaron Finch at mid-on shortly after Bell and Morgan (0) departed in the same Sandhu over, England’s innings lost its way with only one boundary and 27 runs coming from the final five overs.

Just two of those runs came from the final over as England lost three wickets, Bopara – who made only seven off 16 balls – bowled by Starc and Jos Buttler (25) and Chris Woakes (0) run out.

But without Warner, who lacks match fitness, Watson, who is injured, and Bailey who is suspended, Australia???s run-chase is already made a lot harder before they have even taken to the field.