Ian Bell on the Ashes 2013: Most of us just sat about eating Cornettos before that final session

View From the Middle, by Ian Bell of ESPN: His match-defining innings and how England dealt with the pressure that an Ashes Test brings

When I come to look back on my career, the Trent Bridge Test of 2013 will always rate as a highlight. To play a match-defining innings with the team under pressure, against a demanding attack and the fact that it helped us win the game makes it very special. I accept it was probably the best innings of my Test career to this point.

I owed the team those runs. I’ve felt in good form all year, but I haven’t had the scores to show for it and I had a relatively disappointing year in 2012. I was flying in 2010 and 2011, but then I had a long lay-off ahead of going to the UAE and struggled against Saeed Ajmal, who is right up there among the toughest bowlers I’ve faced. Maybe I lost a bit of confidence as a result and it has taken a while to rediscover my best form.

It’s not as if I felt I had anything to prove. Maybe, if I had not enjoyed a good series in Australia in 2010-11, I might have felt that way. But I’ve had good innings before. I scored a century against India at Trent Bridge a couple of years ago that helped set up a victory and I’ve helped us fight for draws in Cape Town and Auckland. But, whatever the merits of other series, for anyone in England or Australia, the Ashes is always the biggest series you play so to contribute to a victory is a special feeling. It’s definitely the most important innings I’ve played in an Ashes match.

As a game it was up there with Edgbaston 2005 for drama. There were so many momentum swings; so much drama. From a personal perspective, it’s more satisfying to have played a large part in this result. When you look back on your career, you want to know you’ve scored your runs in the biggest games, under the most pressure. I did that at Trent Bridge.

I was at the other end when Stuart Broad survived ‘that’ appeal. I honestly didn’t know he had hit it and I’ve always thought Aleem Dar is an exceptional umpire. At the time I put the Australian reaction down to frustration. Broad didn’t mention the edge and I didn’t know about it until I saw a replay back in the dressing room. The fact is that almost no batsmen in world cricket ‘walk.’ It’s within everyone’s right to wait for the umpire’s decision and we have seen the batsmen of both sides do that in this game. I can’t see it causing any lingering problem between the teams.

You honestly don’t always know when you’ve edged it. I didn’t feel anything when I was out. I heard a nick, but I didn’t feel anything, and it was the same for Joe Root when he was caught down the legside. He heard something, but didn’t feel it and, had he reviewed, he may well have been successful. There was no sign of an edge on Hot Spot.

The Australian bowlers all like to have a chat - that’s a polite way of putting it - but, at this stage of my career, I barely even notice. Maybe, when I was younger, I wasn’t prepared for it, but now it just washes over me. I never respond. The whole purpose is to make you lose concentration so if you allow yourself to become distracted by it, you’re letting it affect your game.

We have a great bowler of our own these days. Jimmy Anderson’s career record might not show it - that can happen if you start your career early and learn your trade at the highest level - but he is well on his way to establishing himself as a great bowler. We’ve known for a few years that he was a match-winner in typical green, English conditions, but he has proved he is on dry, sub-continent style pitches where he gains reverse swing, too. I really can’t remember the last time he bowled badly with a red ball. He instils a sense of calm among the other bowlers and with his skill and fitness is a huge asset to us. I’m glad he’s on my team; I wouldn’t want to be facing him at this stage of his career.

It was pleasing to see how well he was supported in the field. Even in those last few minutes, Jonny Bairstow and I pulled off a couple of diving saves in the field that ensured we kept the batsmen under pressure. We made them fight for every run and in the end the pressure told.

We were amazingly calm. It can get very tense in those situations but, after lunch on the final day, most of us sat around eating Cornettos before going out for that final session.

Teams tend to work on remaining calm on the pitch and, in a way, that is easier as you have your job to do and you can lose yourself by concentrating on that. But it’s in the dressing room where things can become tense and, if that environment is wrong, other things fall apart. We were excellent in that respect at Trent Bridge. That bodes very well for us for the rest of the series. We know we’re going to be tested again and again, but we’re proved we can withstand that and come through it as the winning side.

To read Ian Bell’s columns in full thoughout the Ashes series, visit the leading cricket website espncricinfo.com

 

News
news

Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'

News
people

Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'

Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling is releasing a new Harry Potter story about Dolores Umbridge
arts + entsJK Rowling to publish new story set in wizard's world for Halloween
News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
people

Thought you'd seen it all after the Jeremy Paxman interview?

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
On The Apprentice, “serious” left the room many moons ago and yet still we watch
tv

Greatest mystery about the hit BBC1 show is how it continues to be made at all, writes Grace Dent

Life and Style
tech

Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into conflicts
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from David Ayer's 'Fury'
film

"History is violent," says the US Army tank commander Don "Wardaddy" Collier

News
The Edge and his wife, Morleigh Steinberg, at the Academy Awards in 2014
peopleGuitarist faces protests over plan to build mansions in Malibu
Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
football

Striker's four-month ban for biting an opponent expires on Friday

News
news
News
peopleFox presenter gives her less than favourable view of women in politics
News
George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin married in Venice yesterday
peopleAmal and George Clooney 'planning third celebration in England'
Property
One bedroom terraced house for sale, Richmond Avenue, Islington, London N1. On with Winkworths for £275,000.
property
Sport
Erik Lamela celebrates his goal
football

Argentinian scored 'rabona' wonder goal for Tottenham in Europa League – see it here

News
i100
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

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker