New Zealand v England: Difficult wicket was a good test, says Ian Bell

New Zealand v England: Ian Bell says the tourists were tested on a tricky wicket after posting 357-7 on day one of their warm-up match

Ian Bell says England’s batsmen had a “good test” on a difficult wicket as the tourists posted a score of 357-7 on day one of their warm-up match against New Zealand XI in Queenstown.

The Warwickshire man hit an unbeaten 127 to leave England in a healthy position ahead of their opening Test against the Kiwis on 6 March.

“It was a good test today. It was nice to come through that and have 350-odd on the board,” Bell told ECBtv.

“The two guys up front had the tough time in that first hour. Some of the one-day wickets we’ve played on here have been absolutely flat, so to play on a wicket a little bit more in the bowlers’ favour was a good test.”

England were in a little trouble early on, with Nick Compton and Jonathan Trott falling early before Kevin Pietersen was caught at first slip.

It left the tourists on 78-3 but captain Alastair Cook steadied the ship with a fine half-century to put England in a strong position.

When Cook eventually departed for 60, Bell forged a partnership with Joe Root (49) to post a healthy score ahead of day two – and the 30-year-old was pleased with his performance.

“We spoke on Monday about trying to get some time in the middle ahead of the opening Test match and it went nicely for me today,” added Bell.

“We’re in quite a nice position on this wicket.”

He added: “We’ve all gone into series in the past where you’ve either scored runs or you haven’t, and this group experienced enough to deal with it now [if you don’t post runs].”

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