'I was a bit naive,' admits Bell, as Dhoni averts an ugly controversy

 

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The Independent Online

Ian Bell last night admitted that his naivety caused the run-out incident which threatened to cast a dark shadow over England's Test series against India. Bell was only allowed to resume a brilliant innings – having been given out for 137 – because MS Dhoni, the visiting captain, agreed to withdraw his side's appeal during the tea interval.

Although home supporters appeared to be unanimous in their condemnation of India's behaviour, the tourists were perfectly within their rights – under the laws of the game – to insist that century-maker Bell should be given out after Eoin Morgan had clipped the last delivery before tea to long leg.

The pair scampered three runs but then assumed the ball had defeated the fielder Praveen Kumar. Foolishly, Bell left his crease and made for the dressing room before umpire Asad Rauf called "over"; Dhoni gathered the ball, tossed it to Abhinav Mukund at the stumps and the bails were removed.

"It was probably a bit naive on my part but I thought everything was just meandering towards walking off for tea and it wasn't until I got to the boundary rope we realised something had changed," said Bell. "If you are going right down to exactly how the rule stands then I'm out. But it was a completely honest mistake by me to assume the ball was dead, so I think the end result was probably the right one for the spirit of the game.

"The way India handled the situation was fantastic. But I have learned a big lesson because it was wrong of me to assume that because an umpire starts walking towards the bowler he has called 'over'."

Indian batsman Rahul Dravid said: "When we came into tea the guys started talking and there was a feeling that while it [the appeal] was within the laws of the game it was not in the spirit. One of the things we talked about was what if it had happened to us – we would have been disappointed if the appeal had not been withdrawn. We accepted he wasn't attempting a run and it [the decision to reinstate Bell] was unanimous."

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