Cricket: Ian Bell's fine hundred was not enough to save England as they ended their final one-day warm-up with a six-wicket defeat to Delhi today.
Having suffered a 53-run defeat to India A in their previous fixture despite Bell’s score of 91, the tourists lost again despite the Warwickshire man’s efforts at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium.
Bell weighed in with 108 as his side totalled 294 for five, but they were still left trailing Delhi’s 295 for four.
He shared a 113-run stand with Eoin Morgan, who made a bright 52, while there were also runs for returning captain Alastair Cook (44) and Craig Kieswetter (41 not out).
Cook got England going in the fourth over, striking a pair of boundaries off Ashish Nehra and also picking up four leg byes.
He was the senior partner to Bell for the duration of their opening stand, scoring 28 of England’s 43 at the 10-over mark and 44 out of 70 by the time he perished in the 16th.
He had seven fours when he was bowled by Sumeet Narwal, the best of them a well-timed straight drive.
One glorious shot over extra-cover aside, Bell was playing a conservative game of accumulation but lost successive partners as Delhi fought their way into the match. Left-arm spinner Varun Sood took both wickets, Joe Root caught top-edging a sweep for an unconvincing 10 and Samit Patel bowled on the back foot for 13.
Bell was keeping his concentration, though, even telling the umpires Delhi had too many fielders outside the ring and earning England a no-ball. He brought up his 50 with a rare show of extravagance, swiping Rajat Bhatia for six and England were 135 for three after 30 overs, before he and Eoin Morgan pushed the tourists past 150.
After he finally fell for 108 as Sood claimed a third wicket, Morgan then departed just after passing 50 and despite Kieswetter’s efforts to end the innings in style with 41 from 27 balls, the match ended in defeat.