Ian Bell: It's eating away at me - the last thing you do is give them wickets

Ashes Diary: It's obvious what the fans think. Their disbelief matches ours. We haven't helped ourselves


Sunday

England have much the better of the early exchanges in Adelaide on day three. Australia begin at 38 for 1 and when I catch Damien Martyn, diving forward at gully, they are 65 for 3. Duncan Fletcher was pleased with the catch. It's something we practise.

It might have been 78 for 4 when the in-form Ricky Ponting pulls Matthew Hoggard to deep square leg. But Ashley Giles puts down the catch. I'm gobsmacked. I have never seen Ash drop a catch like that. He has great hands; if you would want anybody there, it's him.

It goes through your head that Ponting is in prime form. There might not be another chance coming soon. In England last year, we caught everything. But by the end of the day we are still more than ahead.

Monday

We still feel we are bossing the game but Australia eventually get to a point where they feel they can't lose it. The wicket stays flat, and when you get in on it, it's perfect for batting. For someone like Hoggard to have seven wickets for 109 is astonishing. He has been Mr Reliable for a long time and he shows that it doesn't have to swing for him to be effective.

He mixes it up with slower ones, off-cutters and eventually reverse-swingers. Phenomenal. Flintoff only bowls four overs but I've no idea his ankle is hurting. We bowl them out and bat. After losing an early wicket, Andrew Strauss and I see it through to the close. It's the best I have started against Shane Warne. It all looks good for tomorrow.

Tuesday

In a little dressing-room gathering, the importance of the first session to the match is stated. It's a big thing for us. Today is an opportunity for me to score a hundred. It isn't in my mind that we can be bowled out. Strauss and I sit down and wonder who will bowl. Glenn McGrath springs to mind but they use their form bowlers straightaway, Warne and Stuart Clark.

They bowl beautifully, giving nothing to hit. Ponting sets good fields, mid-on and mid-off straight and two sweepers. There are not many runs but no alarms. Warne is bowling leg-spin far more than sliders. After 40 minutes Strauss is given out caught off bat and pad. I can't see it well from my angle but Strauss's body language says it all. He doesn't think he's hit it and the replays support the view.

Two overs later, I'm run out. I don't really know what's happened. I play it down off the back foot. My first instinct is to look for a run, I look round and wait for a call. I don't move and then Paul Collingwood is in my crease. I have to run. I know I'm not going to make it. I'm out by yards as Michael Clarke throws the ball to Warne, who throws down the stumps.

Throughout the morning I have felt as cool and calm as in any innings I have played. I was enjoying it, I don't think we were overwhelmed by the emotion of the occasion, but I know how important it is. From that point Australia recognise that they can win.

I'm annoyed, but there's no bat-throwing. I don't do that any more. But what's eating away at me is that the last thing you do is give Australia wickets. Warne bowls and bowls but the guys at the other end do wonderfully, bowling a really good length and line. We need a partnership, more of time than of runs. It doesn't come. Five overs or so would have made a tremendous difference.

Things do not go our way but maybe they do not deserve to go our way. Warne is immense. The last two wickets are nerve-racking but we know we have to give it everything.

Australia come out slugging. We manage to squeeze them a little but we never quite manage to bowl as Australia did. One good over is followed by one which goes for a few, another good over, and then a few more runs. Flintoff bowls a tight over but it ends with a seven as three runs are followed by four overthrows. Strength flows out of our bodies.

Australia win by six wickets. It's a horrible defeat, and walking round Adelaide it's obvious what the supporters think. Their sense of disbelief matches ours. We haven't helped ourselves enough.

We sit around the dressing room, have a few beers with the Australians. I have arranged to go to a barbecue with some friends of Lucy, my girlfriend. They're very good in not ramming it down my throat. I don't want to talk much about cricket.

Wednesday

Travel to Perth. It's a bit of a homecoming for me, because I played club cricket for the University three years ago. Those months helped me to mature as a bloke. Ed Joyce also played at the club and he and I go along to a social, fundraising evening. I have good memories. I recall being an up-and-coming England player. When I got here there was no guarantee of a first-team place.

Thursday

A ferry up the Swan River with Lucy and a wander round Fremantle. Kylie Minogue in concert in the evening. It's important just to get away from cricket.

Friday

Back to the nets at the Waca. It's a light session but we have to turn our thoughts to the Third Test.

Saturday

Excused duties at the ground but went for a workout at the gym and then had an hour against a bowling machine in a net. Feel fresh and restored. Twelfth man tomorrow. A lot to do, but we still believe we can do it. We have to.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

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
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn