Bell fails again ahead of Test

Warwicks 484-7 & 23-2 Hampshire 505
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The Independent Online

Ian Bell, the favourite to replace the injured Kevin Pietersen in England's team for the third Test against Australia at Edgbaston next week, was dismissed for a duck yesterday.

It was his second failure in this match and hardly the ideal preparation, if he is selected, before an Ashes Test. In the first innings Bell had been caught behind off left-arm seamer James Tomlinson for seven. Yesterday he fell victim to Hampshire leg spinner Imran Tahir, bowled by the sixth ball of his innings.

The match was not without problems for Hampshire either, whose captain Dimitri Mascarenhas was struck a nasty blow on the head. The all-rounder ducked into a short ball from 6ft 7in Irishman Boyd Rankin and retired hurt. Mascarenhas sustained a small cut on his scalp but it did not need stitches and Hampshire insisted that he would be fit for today's Friends Provident Trophy final against Sussex at Lord's.

Hampshire opener Michael Carberry earlier reached a maiden double hundred as the match petered out.