Can Bell transfer record ton for Tri Series clash with in-form Aussies?
Warwickshire batsman Ian Bell has all-but secured his place in England’s World Cup side, after smashing the highest ever total in limited overs cricket for his country against the Prime Minister’s XI in Australia.
His 187 from 145 followed a half century against an invitational Australian Capital Territory XI, and helped the visitors to another win. England (7/2 outsiders with Coral), therefore, go into the ODI Tri Series with Australia (4/5 odds-on favourites) and India (9/4) in confident mood.
Bell, who has come back into the side after Alastair Cook was relinquished from ODI captaincy, is an enticing 4/1 chance to top score for England again against the Aussies in the first match.
Following his devastating smash, Bell said: “One thing I’ve probably been guilty of in the time I’ve been opening is getting to 60, 70 or 80 but never really gone on and enjoyed myself the way I did today.
“I’ve been guilty in one-day cricket of not converting fifties into match-winning scores, but this is what I can do if I bat [for around 50 overs].
“I’ve spoken to Peter Moores about that. I believe I can play at the top of the order for England and today was pretty much the perfect template.
“That’s how I’d like to play in one-day cricket and if I can do that a couple of times this winter, that’s great for the team.”
Fellow opener Moeen Ali and another star who looks likely to feature heavily at the World Cup, James Taylor, also scored half centuries in both warm-up fixtures. They are 4/1 and 9/2 respectively in the same market.
England go into the game as 7/4 outside chances for victory, though, which is probably accurate due to Australia’s rampant form of late.
However, the Aussies have not played ODI cricket since November, before their recent 2-0 Test Series win over India, so it may take them time to adjust.
Stand-in skipper Steve Smith has been a revelation, though, getting five centuries in his last 10 innings in all forms of competitive international cricket. He is a 10/3 chance to top score here for his nation.
All-rounder Glenn Maxwell was the stand-out player in the Prime Minister’s XI team against England. He scored a whopping 136 from 89 balls, that was then overshadowed by Bell’s bash, but is a terrific 7/1 shout to be best Australian batsman here.
In terms of bowling for England, back Stuart Broad, who took four wickets for 40 runs in that recent match. He is 3/1 to get the best figures again for his team.