England batsmen serve up early-season run-fest

This may only be day six of the domestic season, but already England’s batsmen have cashed in with plenty of eye-catching big scores.

April is normally a time of year for seam bowlers to rejoice, and take advantage of cloudy conditions and any moisture in the pitch.

And while plenty of wickets have fallen during the opening weeks, there have been several big scores of note too – notably from those with England Test caps to their names.

Ian Bell, who was left out of England’s tour of South Africa, laid down an early-season marker with a classy 174 against Hampshire in the opening week of the season.

Apparently reinvigorated by some time away from the game, the 34-year-old’s cover drive was at its glorious best as the home bowlers toiled at the Ageas Bowl.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow also reached three figures against the same opponents at Headingley yesterday, as did Adam Lyth.

Bairstow was unbeaten on 107 overnight after effortlessly recapturing the form which brought him a maiden Test ton against South Africa over the winter.

Lyth lost his England place after a difficult Ashes campaign last summer, but staked his claim for an opening spot alongside Alastair Cook by making 111.

Alastair Cook hits out during his early-season ton against Gloucestershire

Cook, of course, has already made 105 against Gloucestershire last week, his 52nd first-class century preceding an unbeaten 35 as he helped his county to a season-opening victory.

Meanwhile another English opener, Middlesex’s Sam Robson, was unbeaten on 175 overnight against Warwickshire as he served a reminder of his well-organised talents.

All that comes before the likes of Joe Root and Alex Hales return to action, as they enjoy a well-earned break after a hectic winter schedule.

Source: ECB

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