Ian Bell admitted he would have to shoulder some of the blame after being controversially run out before being reinstated as confusion reigned during the tea interval on day three of the second Test at Trent Bridge.
Bell reached 137 before he and Eoin Morgan ran three when the latter flicked Ishant Sharma to deep-square leg. Praveen Kumar managed to avert the boundary with a diving stop and Bell, thinking the session had finished, walked towards Morgan but the ball was thrown to Abhinav Mukund at the striker’s end and he whipped off the bails.
After much deliberation, Bell was given out but coach Andy Flower and captain Andrew Strauss approached India’s dressing room during the interval and the teams came to an agreement to reverse the decision.
Bell went on to add a further 22 runs to his total as England ended the session 441 for six – a lead of 374.
Bell said, “Morgy’s (Morgan) clipped one off his pads right down to the boundary, I guess the fielder’s dived, it looked like it had gone for four, his body language suggested it had and I touched down for the third run.”
“I’d turned round and I think (umpire) Asad (Rauf) had pulled out his jumper and looked like he was walking over towards the bowler to hand his jumper over and my initial reaction, whether it was naive or whatever, was to walk off for tea – I thought that was it.
“I was certainly not attempting a run or anything, it was just a matter of probably being a little bit naive on my part but I thought everything was just meandering towards walking off for tea, straightforward as that.
“It wasn’t until we got to the boundary rope that both of us realised that there was something that had changed.
“The end result and the end decision was probably right for the spirit of the game and I think they’d probably admit that but it was very naive on my behalf just to assume that the ball was dead and just to walk off for tea.
“I think I’ve learnt a lot of lessons, I admit that I was very naive just to walk off for tea and I’ll hopefully never do that again.”
Bell hoped his contribution would not be undermined by the controversy.
“I’ve got to take some blame, I was very naive just to do what I did, to walk off for a tea is a bit stupid but no doubt, it’s one of my best innings I’ve played.
“I really admire this India team, the number one ranked team in the world, some world-class players, not just with the batting, with the bowling and I’ve really enjoyed playing against them.
“It’d be nice if the hundred could be remembered for being a good hundred against a very good team and something that’s helping us set up a Test match.”
Rahul Dravid said that Ian Bell was out according to the laws of the game but Indian players “didn`t feel right”, believing it was against the spirit of cricket.
“If you look at the laws of the game and adhere to them strictly, then probably he was out,” said Dravid.
“But in the spirit of the game, it didn’t feel right and Dhoni and the team felt at tea-time the right thing to do was to ask him to bat again.
“Once he was out and we came back in for tea, the guys started discussing it and there was a feeling that, while it was out in the laws of the game, it probably wasn’t out in the spirit of the game and you could sense the guys were feeling there was something not right about it.
“Around the same time, Andrew Strauss and Andy Flower came in to meet Dhoni and Duncan Fletcher and I don’t know the details of their conversation but they obviously had a conversation.
“Dhoni then led a team meeting in which the issue was discussed and there was unanimity that we should reinstate Ian Bell because it sort of fell in the grey area and in the spirit of the game, he probably wasn’t out.”
Dravid went on to claim that off-spinner Harbhajan Singh was suffering from a stomach muscle problem.
“Unfortunately, two Tests in a row we’ve been a bowler down. It’s been hard work and I would definitely not fault the efforts or commitment of our bowlers. All three of the quicks: Ishant, Praveen, Sreesanth tried their best,” said Dravid.
“It’s been hard, it’s been tough on these guys and England bat deep. Whenever we kept taking wickets, you think your into the tail but the advantage they have in their side at the moment – especially with Bresnan in their team – is that they bat really deep.”