Pietersen take note, current crop are Broad’s favourite

 
Ross McLean
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Ian Bell has made three centuries in 150 ODIs
ENGLAND seamer Stuart Broad hailed the side’s current batting line-up as the best he has ever witnessed in what could be viewed as a thinly veiled swipe at former team-mate Kevin Pietersen.

Opener Ian Bell posted England’s highest-ever one-day score of 187 as the tourists amassed 391-6 during yesterday’s clash with a Prime Minister’s XI in Canberra, while Moeen Ali and James Taylor both struck 71.

This followed England’s score of 364-6 in victory over an Australian Capital Territory outfit on Sunday where five batsmen made half-centuries as newly-installed skipper Eoin Morgan started with a win.

“Nearly 800 runs in our last 100 overs batting. Without doubt the most powerful batting line-up I’ve ever played with,” tweeted Broad, who claimed four wickets in yesterday’s 60-run victory.

Pietersen, who is England’s fourth-highest ODI run scorer of all-time with 4,422 in 134 matches, has persistently banged the drum for an international recall despite his sacking last February following England’s disastrous Ashes tour.

Bell was omitted from England’s five most recent one-day internationals (ODIs) in Sri Lanka but was in destructive form yesterday, smashing 20 fours and three sixes in his 145-ball knock. His heroics were supplemented by Moeen and Taylor while their opponents were far from shy with willow in hand, racking up 331 before being routed in the 49th over as England stormed home comfortably.

On the periphery under former captain Alastair Cook, Bell has recorded just three centuries in 150 ODIs and admits he needs to showcase his match-winning credentials more regularly.

“I’ve been guilty in one-day cricket of getting a lot of 50s and not converting enough,” said Bell. “I believe I can play at the top of the order for England. The thing is converting starts into match-winning scores.”

TOP ORDER FORM

Scores in England’s last two games
England made 364-6 against an ACT XI and 391-6 against a Prime Minister’s XI

■ Ian Bell: 51 and 187 = 238
■ James Taylor: 55 and 71 = 126
■ Moeen Ali: 50 and 71 = 121
■ Joe Root: 56 and 13 = 69
■ Ravi Bopara: 56* and 1* = 57
■ Chris Woakes: 45* and 0* = 45
■ Eoin Morgan: 32 and 7 = 39
■ Jos Buttler: 2 and 25 = 27