Bell in upbeat mood
Ashley Giles' tenure as England's limited-overs coach may have got off to a poor start against India A, but Ian Bell sees no reason for panic.
Giles was taking charge of his country for the first time since inheriting the 50 and 20-over sides from team director Andy Flower but was forced to settle for a disappointing 53-run defeat.
The match was one of two warm-ups ahead of the five-match ODI series against India, but there was nothing warm about proceedings at the Palam Services Ground, where bracing temperatures and a thick cloud of fog caused a reduction to 39 overs per side.
The hosts managed 224 for four batting first, with England - minus captain Alastair Cook who missed out due to a cold - responding with 175 all out, well short of a revised Duckworth-Lewis target of 229.
Bell had more reason to smile than the rest of his team-mates, managing 91 in 89 balls at the top of the innings and insisted the result need not derail England's plans for the series.
"Obviously it is disappointing today but we can learn from these mistakes," he said.
"We were desperate to win today and it wasn't to be, but hopefully we can go forward now. We have the talent and the quality to win the first ODI and that's what we'll be focusing on.
"Hopefully we can put in a good performance in the next warm-up game (against a Delhi XI on Tuesday)."
Everyone except Bell fell well short of expectations on a track that saw three India A batsmen - Abhinav Mukund, Murali Vijay and Kedar Jadhav - score half centuries.
Samit Patel, stand-in skipper Eoin Morgan, Jos Buttler, Craig Kieswetter and Chris Woakes mustered just 17 between them, with Tim Bresnan (22) and Kevin Pietersen (19), England's next best scorers.
Pietersen, back after reversing his one-day retirement, opened alongside Bell in Cook's absence.
And while both men have enjoyed success at the head of the innings, Bell has laid an early claim to the second opening berth upon Cook's return.
"I've enjoyed opening, 100 per cent, it's gone really well in the last three series," said Bell, who only got another life in 50-over cricket after Pietersen's self-imposed exile.
"We've got plenty of options but it's something I've really enjoyed and something hopefully I do consistently now.
"It's nice to be at the top of the order and get some time in the middle."
Pietersen's innings, his first one-day knock for England since last February, burst into life with three fours in an over off the lively Sreesanth but ended too soon after an ugly mis-cue to mid-on.
"Kev played really well actually," added Bell.
"It's a shame he got out but I guess at the top of the order, with the fielding restrictions you have to take the odd risk.
"But he was going really nicely and it was a shame to lose him."
England will take a day off training tomorrow, potentially keen to avoid the unexpected chill that has descended.
They face a Delhi XI in their second practice fixture on Tuesday before flying to Rajkot for the first ODI on Friday.