Bell has the ring of an England player as leaders ease home

<preform>Warwickshire 537 and 207-3<br>Surrey 331 and 412<br>Warwickshire win by seven wickets</preform>
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The Independent Online

If they have learned nothing else from this unhappy confrontation, Surrey now know for whom the bell tolls. For the second time in this match Ian Bell tormented the Brown Hats with another measured innings that took his total time at the crease to more than eight-and-a-half hours in this match. His unbeaten 96, on the back of his first-innings 155, helped Warwickshire to open up a substantial lead at the top of the First Division.

If they have learned nothing else from this unhappy confrontation, Surrey now know for whom the bell tolls. For the second time in this match Ian Bell tormented the Brown Hats with another measured innings that took his total time at the crease to more than eight-and-a-half hours in this match. His unbeaten 96, on the back of his first-innings 155, helped Warwickshire to open up a substantial lead at the top of the First Division.

The victory target of 207 runs from a minimum of 80 overs did not represent too much of a challenge, and they reached it with more than 24 overs remaining.

But at the outset a prudent approach was still required, and Bell, who had joined his captain, Nick Knight, in the third over of the chase after Mark Wagh was bowled by the excellent Jimmy Ormond, was comfortably equal to the task.

The 22-year-old Bell's application was immense, his concentration intense; for the few who braved the balmy weather and made it to Woodbridge Road, there was abundant evidence of why Bell is being touted more and more loudly as a future England player.

There were a couple of chances: the first was only made so by the astonishing athleticism and agility of the 34-year-old Mark Ramprakash, who covered 25 yards (with a dive) but only managed to fingertip the mis-hit pull when Bell was on 16.

Later in his innings, Bell presented Nayan Doshi with a hard-driven return that the left-arm spinner failed to hang on to, yet since he had just passed 1,000 first-class runs in a season for the first time, he could be excused such a slip. But Bell and Jonathan Trott were able to pick off the runs in a telling third-wicket stand of 138 off 34 overs.

As a measure of their desperation the Surrey captain, Jonathan Batty, called on Rikki Clarke to bowl, even though the all-rounder was in the side purely as a batsman in an attempt to rest a sore back. Clarke responded in admirable fashion by dismissing Trott - although a little too late, it has to be said. Bell remained there, a study in singlemindedness.

Earlier, Surrey's last three wickets did not quite capitulate, but nor was there any real sense of purpose. Time at the crease was almost as important as runs. There was little Tim Murtagh could have done about Dougie Brown's brilliant one-handed catch off his own bowling, but Nayan Doshi's headless charge at Brad Hogg was unnecessary and got the stumping it deserved.

But at least there was something for the home bowlers to attack; it was just a pity that Surrey have been so hard hit by injuries to their strike force - Martin Bicknell (groin), Alex Tudor (back) and Ian Salisbury (knee) were all absent.

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