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Ian Bell caps off first-class career with twin fifties
Farewell Ian Bell

Ian Bell caps off first-class career with twin fifties

Former England batsman Ian Bell scored 50 and 90 in his final two innings of an illustrious first-class career as Glamorgan held on to a tight draw against Warwickshire.

The five-time Ashes winner was greeted to an ovation from teammates, rivals, umpires and coaching staff as he exited the cricket field one last time following a hard-fought contest.

Glamorgan were dented by a loss of wickets at frequent intervals throughout day four as they continued to battle in their pursuit of the improbable 331-run target.

Eventually, the last-wicket pair of Timm van der Gugten and Michael Hogan survived the closing moments of the match to ensure a draw despite Warwickshire being on the brink of a victory.

While the Bob Willis Trophy fixture reached a thrilling conclusion, the main focus of the entire proceedings was the evergreen Bell, who finished his first-class career with an aggregate of 20,440 runs at 43.58. He was the top run-scorer for Warwickshire across both innings.

The dramatic turnaround in form for Bell was quite befitting of his resilient character since he had fared poorly in his last six outings before the farewell match, fetching just 66 runs.

In the statement announcing his retirement, Bell had mentioned he felt it was "time" to call curtains on his active involvement in professional cricket.

"While my hunger and enthusiasm for the sport I love remain as strong as ever, my body simply can’t keep up with the demands of the game to the standard of which I expect from myself," he had said.

In spite of this assessment, Bell looked in fine touch over the course of his swansong as he dished out a splendid array of scrumptious strokes in a measured contribution of 90 runs.

At one stage, the 38-year-old was scoring rapidly when he reached his fifty with a strike rate of just under 80 and was regularly finding the boundary fence with his glorious drives.

Bell, who has confirmed plans of coaching post-retirement, was ultimately undone by van der Gugten and played a sharp in-ducker onto his stumps.

A parting hundred evaded Bell but he still ends his career as one of England's cricketing greats. His final hurrah in competitive cricket will be the Vitality Blast match for Birmingham Bears on Saturday.