Bell maintains top form with record double century

Middlesex 298 & 137-3 Warwickshire 430

Ian Bell had said that the attention being focused on Kevin Pietersen might be to his advantage and it appears he was not wrong. From 143 overnight, Warwickshire's burgeoning star advanced superbly to 231 as the defending champions sought an opportunity to impose early dominance of the First Division table.

Ian Bell had said that the attention being focused on Kevin Pietersen might be to his advantage and it appears he was not wrong. From 143 overnight, Warwickshire's burgeoning star advanced superbly to 231 as the defending champions sought an opportunity to impose early dominance of the First Division table.

There should be little argument over Bell's technical ability compared with that of his newly qualified and enthusiastically hyped rival. Pietersen's power has been too much for many a county bowler and took a heavy toll of his compatriots during the one-day internationals in South Africa.

But Pietersen is the first to admit he has something to prove, whereas Bell looked at home immediately on his Test debut against West Indies last summer.

Bell's form so far this season is of the highest order. Already he has 430 first-class runs and is into a record-breaking streak. Yesterday, having already amassed the biggest aggregate of runs in April by a Warwickshire player, he eclipsed Tom Cartwright's 210, set in 1962, as the county's highest individual score in a home match against Middlesex. It was a second double century for the county by the 23-year-old right-hander and ensured Warwickshire had maximum batting points before lunch. He had been at the crease for more than seven hours when, having hit 29 fours, he was run out in an attempt to keep the strike.

If the well-being of Bell encourages England supporters, so too does that of Ashley Giles, who enjoyed himself with the bat before making Middlesex work hard for runs in the evening sunshine. The left-arm spinner's support for Bell gained him seven fours in a robust half century before he mispulled Alan Richardson to mid-wicket, giving the former Warwickshire seamer a fourth wicket on his return to Edgbaston.

Nick Knight did not wait long before summoning Giles into the attack as Middlesex began cautiously to nibble at a 132-run deficit, although it was Alex Loudon who made his mark first as the summer's first real warmth helped turn the surface to the advantage of the spinners.

The former Kent off-spinner had England's Andrew Strauss caught at slip with his first delivery before Giles brought down the curtain on a two-hour 12 by the dogged Ben Hutton. When Giles had Ed Smith leg before, Middlesex were three down and still 30 behind.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea