Ashes 2013-14: Ian Bell - The top six got in and again didn’t go on

England's top order once again collapsed after they looked set to build towards a good score with Kevin Pietersen the only one to push on past 50

For a few moments yesterday, Kevin Pietersen was the man who swallowed a fly. He went down on both knees and seemed to be gagging.

The commentariat were convinced of what had happened after Pietersen’s ferocious pull against Ryan Harris was put down at short mid-wicket. It turned out that Pietersen was feeling mildly nauseous, probably in shock after at last being the recipient of some luck in the series.

He went on to reach his third half-century of the series after also surviving a catching chance on six when Nathan Coulter-Nile, the substitute fielder, underestimated how close to the boundary rope he was as he carried over the ball after completing the catch.

Without Pietersen’s fortune, England’s position would have been considerably worse. They exhibited all their recent peccadilloes, failing to make the most of decent starts, which is the greatest of all batting crimes.

“It was a bit disappointing that we couldn’t get the scoring rate up a bit more but it was more disappointing the way the top six got in and didn’t go on which is the way it has been for a while now,” said Ian Bell, England’s new vice-captain.

Bell has been elevated ahead of Pietersen and Stuart Broad after the official tour deputy, Matt Prior was dropped after playing 60 consecutive Test matches. Prior’s batting has been in trouble for a few months and there was clear evidence in the last Test at Perth that his wicketkeeping was suffering too.

If there was no other option but to give him a break, the batsmen who have been so short of runs for so long can consider themselves fortunate to have survived. However, there really is no one else and those calling for mass change are missing the point.

Bell said: “Your intent has got to be to score runs, not to survive. If you try and survive you’re going to get one at some point. You have to try to put pressure on the bowlers, But Australia did very well in bowling in partnerships, which is what good teams do, and you have to earn the right to score.

“Australia have been outstanding and they have worked really well. They must be full of confidence and they deserve to be. They have outplayed us in all three disciplines. For us it’s a real scrap. As a group we have got to be improving and make sure when it comes round again in 2015 we’re a lot better side.”

They may be a different side, of course, if the selectors decide that this team are going only one way. Bell was among those who got in and got out yesterday, though it took a smart delivery from Ryan Harris to ensnare him.

England have been getting in and getting out for the best part of a year. Bell is only 31 and has at least three years of top-class cricket left in him. But England these days are not even flattering to deceive. However, there were no flies on Pietersen. We should have known.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
A boy holds a chick during the Russian National Agricultural Exhibition Golden Autumn 2014 in Moscow on October 9, 2014.
Life and Style
love + sex
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle v United 1 player ratings
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot