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Bell ton set up a victory

England 288 for 6 (Bell 126) beat West Indies 172 (Smith 56, Bresnan 4-34) by 114 runs (D/L method)
Ian Bell won the battle of the replacement openers inthe first one-day international as he markedhis return to England's 50-over side with his second ODI hundred - nearly five years after his previous one - to earn the home side an early series advantage with a 114-run victory. Initially West Indies threatened in the chase with Dwayne Smith filling the void left by Chris Gayle's late injury but England's quicks burst through either side of a rain delay.
In some neat symmetry this was the same ground (albeit with a different name) where Bell made hisonly other ODI hundred - against India in 2007 - andthis time he reached three figures from a lively 95 balls to suggest that the hole left by Kevin Pietersen's retirement will not be as vast as some hadenvisaged. A day after suffering a suspected fractured jaw, and needing 10 stitches after being hit in the nets, there was barely a false shot in the innings until he top-edged a slower ball from Dwayne Bravo when level with his career best having played gracefully to show, yet again, that one-day cricket is not all about brute force.
The opening partnership did not flourish with Alastair Cook was caught behind third ball against Ravi Rampaul but Bell ensured that the team's recent run of ODI hundredscontinued; this was the fifth match in a row that one of the openers had reached three figures after the back-to-back efforts of Cook and Pietersen againstPakistan in the UAE.
England's final total of 288 for 6 was less than they may have hoped for after 30 overs when they were 163 for 3, but was still the second highest score batting first at this venue - and England's highest - after Craig Kieswetter produced some late boundaries along with Stuart Broad in a useful 43-run stand off 34 balls.
After the early loss of LendlSimmons, Smith's innings included three boundaries in four deliveries against Steven Finn, the second of which was a pick-up over deep square-leg, and went past fifty off 38 balls. Longevity, though, has never been Smith's strength and and aiming another shot through the legs side got an edge off Bresnan. In one sense he had done his job, but it was also a missed opportunity to build a longinnings. Bresnan struck again in his next over when he won an lbw against Denesh Ramdin - batting at No. 3 after Darren Bravo picked up a groin injury in the field - after the wicketkeeper hadlurched to 22.
West Indies continued to play their shots with both Marlon Samuels and Dwayne Bravo collecting early boundaries but as rain started to fall Finn struck in the first over of his second spell by squaring up Bravo with a full delivery. In that one moment West Indies went from being ahead of the D/L par score to being behind it. The margin became even greater whenEoin Morgan plucked out Kieran Pollard's fierce cut at backward point. When Samuels clipped James Anderson to midwicket shortly after an hour's delay for rain, West Indies' last hope had gone. In total they lost 9 for 77 in 18 overs.
The foundation of England's total was laid by a second-wicket stand of 108 between Bell and Jonathan Trott, Warwickshire team-mates who used their understanding well to run hard between the wickets against some lacklustre West Indian fielding. The boundaries had been pushed right to edge of theplaying area in anticipationof West Indies' power-packed batting order.
After the early loss of Cook,Bell gave England momentum when he took 18 off Andre Russell's third over which began with a sublime straight six and continued with three further boundaries around the ground. Pietersen, whotweeted support to his former team-mates during the day, could not have done it any better.
Bell had a nervous moment on 23 when Rampaul was convinced hehad found the outside edge but umpire Richard Kettleborough said not out.Hot Spot did not show anything on replay although Snicko suggested at a thin edge. Two balls later Bell responded with arasping square cut as Rampaul dropped short and wide.
Bell's timing and placement was effortless, but the going was tougher for Trott who had collectedan early boundary throughmidwicket but had to wait until the 16th over for his second when Bravo drifted into the pads. As in the final Test, Sunil Narine did not overly trouble the top order - at one stage being reverse swept by Trott - but did break the partnership when Trott was caught behind cutting.


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