Ian Bell: My Ashes Diary

What a player! Game will miss him, maybe I won't


SUNDAY

Up against it at the Waca. Duncan Fletcher tells us it is time for individuals to stand up perform. There are two days to save the Ashes.

Alastair Cook and I take it ball by ball at first. I play Warne well. I hit him back over his head first ball. It wasn't planned, it was just there. I'm playing him much better this series. That's the way I've always played spin, barring 2005, when he had the hex on me.

The Aussies chat to me all the time. They ignore Cook. They tell me that Warney will have the last word, that he'll get me in the end, that I'm a ball-softener for the rest of the guys. On and on they go. Very occasionally, I'll smile and say: "Warney, I agree with you," but mostly I studiously ignore it.

For the third time in the series a hundred is there for the taking. For the third time I miss out. This is bad. It's not what I or the side want. And it leads to wickets. By close, we are five down.

MONDAY

The Ashes are lost. A bitterly disappointing day. The truth is that we have not been good enough.

All those celebrations of last year, all those happy thoughts, are finished. If we had come out here and still lost but lost with it going down to the wire, real tough all the way to Sydney, I think people would have been just as happy. But this was not in the plan.

A word for Kevin Pietersen. He has played fantastically well. From his hundred in the warm-up in Sydney he has been in form.

TUESDAY

There is a firestorm at home. Fletcher is getting some awful stick, we hear. I should just say that in the past 12 to 15 months he has taught me a great deal. He spots things in technique that nobody else does. The biggest favour he did me probably was dropping me for the Sri Lanka series last summer at home. He was honest with me when I needed somebody to be honest.

As for selections, from what happened in the warm-up games and from what happened in 2005, I can see where they were coming from. Perhaps his greatest strength as a character is that whether on a high or a low he remains the same. The team are on his side. We are a young side, we can be helped by him.

WEDNESDAY

Word is out that Warne is retiring. What a player, what a man. The game will miss him, maybe I won't.

He has challenged me to be a better cricketer without saying a word to me about my game off the field. Just playing against him made me recognise what I had to do. But then he's had an impact all over the world.

Part of his trick is getting into the opposition. At Adelaide, when he came into bat Australia were 384 for 6, still 170 behind. He was out on his feet after bowling 53 overs. He needed something to get him going. He began staring at the fielders and trying to do impressions of Pietersen batting, bending at the knee, purely to provoke reaction. He caught my eye quite deliberately and said: "What are you looking at?" I said nothing.

He was desperate for somebody to get involved. Paul Collingwood did. It was what Warne was looking for and he dug in, forgot the pains and made 43 in a hundred partnership. Having a beer afterwards, the truth came out.

THURSDAY

Gone fishing. Five of us go down to St Kilda. It helps to forget cricket but I don't think it will be my future post-cricket recreation. Pudsey Plunkett and Matthew Hoggard catch red snapper galore, I give up after an hour.

FRIDAY

A return to nets. Dinner and a stop in the Barmy Army's Melbourne pub on the way back. They are a raucous bunch but they were pleased to see me and Chris Read.

SATURDAY

Thoughts turn to the Test. We have to go out at Melbourne looking as though we know we can win. Australia know that on their day England are capable of beating them. The Australian celebrations at Perth reflected how much they wanted to win.

We have shown glimpses of how well we can play and haven't strung it together. If we are to beat them in Melbourne we have to string sessions together.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
News
news
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
New Articles
i100... with this review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Sport
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
i100
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
News
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
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

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam