New Delhi: Ian Bell struck a solid 159 as England firmly put themselves in the driver's seat by taking a substantial 374-run lead on a controversy-marred third day in the second cricket Test against India at Trent Bridge in Nottingham.

India vs England: 2nd Test
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Match Report: India vs England: Day 1

Bell notched up his 15th century to laid the foundation for England's massive second innings total of 441 for six on a day, which was marred by a controversial decision against the batsman.

Bell was declared run out but the Indians, in keeping with the spirit of the game, withdrew the appeal during the tea break to avoid the situation from blowing out of proportion. As a result, the batsman was called back.

Apart from Bell's heroics, Eoin Morgan (70), Matt Prior (64 not out) and Kevin Pietersen (63),were the other notable contributors as the hosts put India completely on the backfoot on a Trent Bridge track that seems to have eased out considerably.

Tim Bresnan (47 not out) was giving Prior company when stumps were drawn.

With two full days left, India will have to bat out of their skin to prevent England from going 2-0 up in the four-match series and dislodge them as the number 1 Test team.

Earlier, controversy marred the second session of play after Bell was run out off the last ball before tea.

The incident happened when Morgan flicked one towards deep square leg, but a diving Praveen Kumar prevented the ball from crossing the boundary.

Assuming that tea had been called, Bell walked off the crease before the bails were removed at the batsman's end by Abhinav Mukund.

The Indians appealed and Bell was give out after replays had shown that the ball had not gone for four.

However, in a magnanimous gesture, India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni called back Bell after the tea break.

The Indians, who were booed by English fans when they came back after the tea break as Bell's dismissal did not go down well with the home crowd, were later praised for their gesture.

The generosity towards him did not make much of a difference to Bell, though, as he could add just 22 runs to his score before nicking Yuvraj Singh to first slip.

India fought for a while after Kumar took the wickets of Morgan and Jonathan Trott - coming in to bat at number seven due to a shoulder injury - with the second new ball, having them caught in the slip cordon. But they could not maintain the pressure on the opposition.

Bell, for his masterly knock, batted for five and a half hours and faced with 206 balls, hitting 24 authoritative fours.

Resuming at an overnight score of nine, Bell lost his skipper Andrew Struass (16) in the first session, Pietersen (63) in the second, and then himself got a second chance in the final session.

The feature of his innings was the flurry of fours he hit.

In the first session, he made 75 runs and struck 14 fours, i.e scoring 56 runs in boundaries.

In the afternoon session, he added 53 runs and slammed six fours, while his 22 in the final session featured three hits to the fence.

Thanks to their batsmen's aggression, England on Sunday scored at a pace that saw them score 417 runs from 90 overs at nearly five runs an over.

In all, England hit 55 fours and two sixes during the day. The final session alone yielded 187 runs.

Bell put on 162 runs for the third wicket with Pietersen and 104 for the fourth wicket with Morgan, partnerships that gave England the advantage.

Pietersen played a sensible knock, batting for 160 minutes and 120 balls and hitting seven fours.

Morgan made his 70 runs from a mere 88 balls and hit eight fours and a six in 104 minutes of batting.

Later, Prior, continuing with his good form in the series, put on 102 runs from 110 balls for the seventh wicket with Bresnan.

Prior looks good enough for another century in the series and has so far batted for 102 minutes, faced 55 balls and hit eight fours and a six.

Bresnan has hit nine fours from 66 balls for his 47.

A back spasm to off-spinner Harbhajan Singh added to India's woes, restricting his spell to a mere nine overs.

What must worry India is that the home side's lead is already higher than the best-ever chase managed at this ground— 284 for six by England against New Zealand in 2004.

Teams:

India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (C), Abhinav Mukund, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Harbhajan Singh, Ishant Sharma, Sreesanth and Praveen Kumar.

England: Andrew Strauss (C), Alistair Cook, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Eoin Morgan, Matt Prior, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, Tim Bresnan and James Anderson.

Umpires: Asad Rauf (Pakistan), Marais Erasmus (South Africa)

Third umpire: Billy Bowden (New Zealand)

Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle (Sri Lanka).

(JPN/Agencies)