IAN Bell scored a brilliant unbeaten century to guide Warwickshire to a five-wicket win over Durham in their Royal London One-Day Cup match at Emirates Riverside on Friday.
Skipper Bell was outstanding in scoring 145 not out, with fellow former England man Jonathan Trott also notching a hundred, as the two players shared a stand of 202 to grind down Durham’s total before Bell saw his side through to the victory.
Will Smith and Michael Richardson both scored centuries for the home side, but their efforts were in vain as the Bears edged the contest.
“It was a well-timed run chase. It’s quite a difficult field to defend here. There are a lot of twos out there and it’s a quick outfield,” said Bell.
“We stuck at the pace of the Duckworth-Lewis method on the scoreboard. Trotty and myself knew we had a time in the game when we wanted to kick on and try to get that rate below a run-a-ball. It went exactly how we wanted it to go and today was our day.
“When you come here to Durham there’s always a little bit in the pitch. You know you’ve got to be watchful and to play very straight. If you were off line it was a good pitch and it’s a big field so you get good value for your runs.”
The visitors won the toss and elected to field. Olly Stone and Keith Barker struck early to remove Paul Collingwood and Graham Clark, while Tom Latham also fell cheaply for 13.
Smith joined Richardson with the score at 54-3. Richardson found his rhythm, although before his first milestone of the day he was dropped by Sam Hain on 47.
Richardson made his half-century off 49 balls, maintaining his solid form in the 50-over game. Smith too relaxed into his innings, and the pair were able to put Warwickshire under pressure. They reached their 100-partnership off 102 balls before Smith brought up his fifty in style with a massive six off Stone.
Durham passed the 200-run mark with back-to-back boundaries from Richardson, who reached his second List A century. The 31-year-old made his highest 50-over score of 111 before he was dismissed, ending his partnership of 161 with Smith.
Smith upped the ante to reach his hundred off 98 balls, including eight boundaries and a six. He fell in the final over for 119, although the home side were still able to post 299 from their 50 overs.
The Bears were put on the back foot in their reply as Ed Pollock and Sam Hain were dismissed within the opening three overs. However, Trott and Bell proved their quality to stabilise the innings.
Trott played with a fine tempo to his innings and was the first of the experienced pair to reach his half-century off 68 balls, and soon brought up the 100-partnership with Bell from 125 deliveries.
Bell took slightly longer than his partner to score his fifty, getting over the mark in 74 deliveries, scoring five boundaries as the visitors continued to grind down the total.
The experience of both former England players took the game away from Durham. The two veterans displayed nous to knock the ball around the park and dispatch the ball to the boundary when necessary to keep the required rate down.
Trott and Bell continued the imperious nature of their batting, working the ball around the ground, reaching the 200-partnership off 207 deliveries.
Trott was the first to three figures, calming stroking the ball down the ground to notch his 22nd List A century, although he lost his composure drilling a Collingwood delivery straight to Richardson.
Bell remained focused and brought up his hundred from 108 balls.
The wickets of Adam Hose and Tim Ambrose did not deter Bell as finished his flawless innings with a flurry of late boundaries to secure the vital victory.
Warwickshire, who now lie third in the North group, return to action tomorrow (Sunday) when Leicestershire Foxes visit Edgbaston (11am).