|Ground:||Sophia Gardens, Cardiff|
|Scorecard:||England v Pakistan|
|Event:||Pakistan in British Isles 2006|
DateLine: 31st August 2006
England may have been saved by rain from an eighth straight one-day defeat against Pakistan but at least they had the consolation of seeing Ian Bell come good against an impressive attack in the opening match of this five-game series here at Sophia Gardens.
Bell's career-best 88 was the only significant score in England's total of 202 all out after they were made to bat first in overcast, pace bowler friendly, conditions in this day/night clash in the Welsh capital.
Jamie Dalrymple's 27 was England's next best score and, after rain between innings, Pakistan were well on their way to chasing down a revised target of 159 in 32 overs.
But, with the tourists 46 for one off seven overs, a second shower meant the game was abandoned as a no-result in what was the first senior England international against Test opposition ever staged in Cardiff.
However, Bell - who earlier this season scored three Test centuries against Pakistan - had at least taken his chance to shine in the No 3 role having been drafted in as an opener during England's five-wicket Twenty20 defeat by Inzamam-ul-Haq's men at Bristol on Monday.
"That was probably the best I've played in one-day cricket for England," Bell told reporters after stumps here Wednesday, having faced 117 balls with 12 fours in an innings that bolstered his chances of appearing in next year's World Cup in the Caribbean.
"I tried to carry on my form from the Test matches and wanted to be positive - it went pretty well today, I thought," Bell said.
"It was the kind of wicket if you were 50-50 forward or back there was plenty happening for the bowlers.
Bell dropped on nine at slip by Younis Khan and off a caught and bowled by leg-spinner Shahid Afridi on 68, rode his luck but was one of the few England batsmen who looked like he had a method for facing fast bowlers Mohammad Asif (three for 28) and Shoaib Akhtar (three for 45).
He may have batted in seven different positions for England since his debut two years and 19 matches ago but the 24-year-old Bell was in doubt that No 3 was his favoured position.
"That is the one I've done the most for Warwickshire. It's where I normally bat and where I'm happiest in one-day cricket," he said.
It gives you the opportunity to get yourself in a bit more - and the type of player I am, that is a help to me. Then I can gradually score quicker and quicker," Bell said ahead of Saturday's second match of the series at Lord's.
Wednesday's outcome meant England, who during their current home season England had lost a Twenty20 and five full one-day internationals against Sri Lanka before Monday's Twenty20 defeat had avoided an eighth straight reverse.
"It's not the way we wanted to stop the run of defeats," Bell said.
"We believe we can compete with Pakistan in this series and we're excited about Lord's."
(Article: Copyright © 2006 AFP)