Openers give England good start

Congleton Guardian: Alastair Cook, left, shared an opening stand of 75 in 15 overs with Ian Bell Alastair Cook, left, shared an opening stand of 75 in 15 overs with Ian Bell

Alastair Cook gave England an encouraging start to their Royal London one-day international series decider against Sri Lanka at Edgbaston.

Cook's first contribution was to win the toss, and he consolidated by sharing in an opening stand of 75 in 15 overs with Ian Bell - before his partner poked a catch back to spinner Ajantha Mendis to depart for 37.

Bell had already needed a significant moment of fortune on 18 when Mahela Jayawardene unaccountably dropped a clear-cut chance.

The mistimed shot at a Nuwan Kulasekara slower ball, Bell chipping to midwicket, ought to have cost England their first wicket on 34 - but Jaywardene could not hold on high to his left.

Bell responded by hitting the last two balls of the over for cultured boundaries, a cut and an off-drive.

England changed tactics, on a slow pitch, by taking their batting powerplay as early as it is possible - between overs 10 and 15.

The outcome was 30 runs for the loss of Bell's wicket, to the final ball of the 15th over.

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