The sign writer who etches the names on the Lord's honour boards will be earning overtime after Ian Bell became England's third century-maker. Bell's third ton of his stop-start career lifted the team beyond the 500 mark and built on a career-best performance from Paul Collingwood. He didn't have to wait long to enter the fray as Mohammad Sami uprooted Cook's offstump with the new ball to end a record fourth-wicket stand of 233. Bell's nervous tension was clear with a leaden-footed poke at his first ball, which scurried to third man, but unlike last summer against the Australians he played it with soft, rather than hard, hands.Sami and Umar Gul wasted the new ball and offered Bell a series of legstump sighters which went through square leg. Bell was on 97 when Harmison was run out, but Monty Panesar showed a straight bat to survive six balls before Bell scampered the final single. Andrew Strauss declared the moment Bell reached three figures . Bell has rarely exuded outward confidence at the top level, but had been settled by his brisk start and was by no means a silent partner as the century was brought up in the first session
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