Bell blow hurts England as Harmison breaks through

England's Test series against New Zealand got off to a painful start last night when Ian Bell was taken to hospital for an X-ray on the first morning of the first Test.

Bell was taking evasive action while fielding at short leg when a full-blooded pull shot from Jamie How, the New Zealand opener, off the bowling of Ryan Sidebottom struck him hard on the side of his right hand as he instinctively brought his arms up in front of his face.

Bell immediately collapsed on the ground and stayed down for three or four minutes in obvious discomfort while receiving treatment from Kirk Russell, the England physiotherapist. As he was led from the field, a swelling the size of an egg could be seen, raising fears that he may well have broken a bone. But he was back at the ground –if not on the field – after lunch with the X-ray having revealed nothing worse than severe bruising to the arm.

He is expected to be fit to bat, a major fillip for an England batting line-up that does not possess great depth. If Bell is incapable of batting Tim Ambrose, making his Test debut, would come in at six and Sidebottom at seven. Such a scenario would place England's top order under huge pressure to score heavily. Owais Shah is England's back-up batsman, but he would only become available for the second Test in Wellington.

Bell's ailment was not the only concern for England on a morning dominated by the Black Caps' batsmen. Daniel Vettori, the New Zealand captain, happily chose to bat after winning the toss and his openers made the most of a low, slow surface that offered the quicker bowlers very little assistance.

How and Matthew Bell made a watchful start against accurate bowling from Sidebottom and Matthew Hoggard, but once the pair became used to the pace and bounce of the pitch runs began to flow. Both batsmen struck boundaries off the front and back foot as England's seamers searched for a breakthrough.

England's sole moment of joy came in Stephen Harmison's second over, the 14th of the day, when Bell, on 19, sliced a drive high to Kevin Pietersen fielding at fine gully. Stephen Fleming, playing in his last Test series before retirement, came in and played several pleasant shots, finding the boundary whenever England's bowlers strayed off line.

The introduction of Monty Panesar tightened things up for the tourists, the left-armer turning a couple of deliveries past the outside edge of How's bat. The sight offered Panesar encouragement but it will have pleased New Zealand too – the Black Caps have selected two spinners for the Test.

At lunch New Zealand had moved nonchalantly to 87 for 1, with How and Fleming unbeaten on 39 and 29 respectively.

Bell is not the first England player to visit a nearby hospital – Phil Mustard, England's reserve wicket-keeper, underwent surgery on his nose yesterday after being accidentally hit in the face during the team's final practice session before the first Test.

Mustard was feeding the electric bowling machine in the net next to where Pietersen was batting when a full-blooded heave by the batsman, off the bowling of Panesar, went over the netting, struck part of the metal stanchion and hit him flush on the nose. Mustard was standing on a chair at the time and the force of the blow knocked him backwards and on to the ground.

Mustard remained prostrate for five minutes while Russell and the England doctor, Mark Wotherspoon, attended. He was then taken for an X-ray where a fracture was spotted. He is expected to resume training later this week.

Voices
voicesSiobhan Norton on why she eventually changed her mind
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Arts and Entertainment
Residents of Derby Road in Southampton oppose filming of Channel 4 documentary Immigration Street in their community
tv
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
News
i100
Extras
indybest
Sport
Scottish singer Susan Boyle will perform at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow
commonwealth games
News
Lane Del Rey performing on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2014
people... but none of them helped me get a record deal, insists Lana Del Rey
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn