Cricket Australia Items/Blogs/dean-wilson/2013/8/12/bell-prevails-again

Dean Wilson

Bell prevails again

12 August 2013

Cricket Correspondent for the UK's Daily Mirror newspaper Dean Wilson says England have never lost a Test match in which Ian Bell has scored a hundred.

There are two way of looking at the following statistic.

England have never lost a Test match in which Ian Bell has scored a hundred.

With the 20th of his career coming at Durham today, Australia are either a little closer to creating history or just another notch on his ton-hungry bed post.

Thankfully for Aussie fans the answer is still not yet clear thanks in no small part to the herculean efforts of Ryan Harris.

But with a lead of 202 and five wickets still left, England and Bell could soon put this match and the series well beyond Michael Clarke's team.

I've already spent a fair old chunk of time writing about Bell so far in this series, but unlike writing about the decision review system, it is actually quite fun to do so.

For those of us who have watched his entire England career up close it is impossible not to like, admire and wish Bell well.

He is a fine example of everything you could want in a sportsman.

Outrageously talented, dedicated, hard-working, skilful, feisty, committed, and he plays the game with a smile on his face most of the time.

Off the field he is a good lad. A bit of a joker in the dressing room, obsessed with all sports in particular football, golf and rugby and he will happily unwind with a beer in the bar.

At 31, married and a father, Bell has grown up from the uncertain 'sherminator' in 2005 to the complete batsman eight years later.

And he won't mind me making the point that while a ginger pride march took place in Edinburgh today, Bell was doing ginger's proud by the way he went about things out in the middle.

The morning had all been about Harris.

First with the bat as his 28 took Australia past England and into a 32 run lead, and then with the ball.

As a quick aside, you have to feel for Tony Hill the umpire who is getting virtually every decision wrong at the minute.

His confidence is shot to pieces and he simply doesn't quite believe what he sees.

Harris was so plumb lbw that he actually started to walk. Hill somehow gave it not out and had to be embarrassed by the DRS.

Hill cannot be as poor an umpire as he is showing in this series, so I would just urge him to put it all behind him and try and find some form. The umpires have had it hard in this series and perhaps a bit of support wouldn't go amiss.

Despite conceding a lead, England would still have been happy at their work in mopping up the tail the way they did, and for Stuart Broad, it was fitting that he managed to pick up his fifth wicket of the innings to close it.

Broad has not had the most rewarding series with the ball so far even though he has bowled exceptionally well at times such as at Old Trafford, but he got his dues here.

Harris though showed just what perfection looked like on a pitch that appears to be a minefield against the new ball and a road when it is 40 overs old.

He gave Joe Root an unplayable ball that angled in, pitched on off stump and held its line beautifully to beat the edge and knock the bails off. Just an absolute beauty.

At 49-3 Bell came to the crease to join Kevin Pietersen and the pair set about repairing the damage and building a lead.

They brought all their experience to bear and took England up and away from Australia, even though the bowling was as competitive as it has been all series. It was just top batting.

By the time Pietersen fell, trying to turn Nathan Lyon onto the off side, they had shifted the momentum and Jonny Bairstow carried it along a little further for a while.

Bairstow was doing his bit for the gingers as well for a time, batting positively and showing some real intent, but he couldn't go on, and that is where England need to see an improvement.

He cannot keep turning his back away from the big scores. The Oval is a huge game for him.

And so back to Bell. He was put on his backside by Harris at one stage with a short ball that connected with the grille of his helmet, but he stood firm thereafter.

It was a cracking contest and one that the England man is winning.

Round two starts very soon, and both sides will fancy winning it.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia.
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