The Ashes: I've put Aussie woes behind me, says Ian Bell

 

Durham ICG

Ian Bell believes his three centuries against Australia this summer have banished all memories of his early struggles in the Ashes.

Bell scored only two half-centuries in the 2005 series and, although he performed better in the following one, he was part of a side whitewashed 5-0 Down Under. The batsman contributed to the triumphs in 2009 and 2010-11 but his performances this summer have easily surpassed all of those.

After his hundreds in the victories at Trent Bridge and Lord's, Bell will resume today on 105 not out, having helped England into a lead in excess of 200, with five second-innings wickets still standing.

Bell went 30 innings before scoring his first Ashes hundred but now he has four in his last five Tests – three in this series and one in the final Test of the last, at Sydney in January 2011.

He said: "I believed I was good enough to score Test hundreds against Australia but it took a while. The first two series I played were against one of the best of all time. For a young player, that was a really tough baptism and I learnt a lot from great players. I've had to work really hard in this series, too.

"We've got a lot of respect for this attack and we're always challenged when we're batting. But it's enjoyable to score hundreds and maybe put to bed some of the stuff I've done in the past.

"This is right up there with the best form I've had in my career. If we can get a lead of 300 we will be more confident, but this Australia team keep coming at you."

This was Bell's 20th Test hundred and, comfortingly for England, they have never lost a Test in which he has reached three figures. He has built the platform from which they will try to take a 3-0 lead in the series and win the Ashes outright after last week's draw at Old Trafford ensured they would retain them.

Australia will be desperate not to allow England's lead to extend too far past 200 – it was only 17 when Bell walked to the wicket but is now 202 – as they seek their first Ashes Test win since Perth in December 2010. They are also anxious about the fitness of all-rounder Shane Watson, who was unable to complete the second over of his second spell and left the field after delivering the third ball of it.

Cricket Australia reported that Watson was suffering from pain in his hip and groin and would be assessed this morning. With no runners allowed in international cricket, the tourists will be worried about Watson's ability to bat. He had struggled for form in this series but scored 68 in the first innings after dropping down the order to six.

Ryan Harris, who removed England's top three batsmen, was hopeful Watson would be fit: "It might not be as bad as first feared. When I left the dressing room, there was talk about him batting. He was disappointed for a little while after he had to come off but hopefully we'll get good news and he'll be ready to go."

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

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower