Cricket Australia

http://www.cricket.com.au/Global Items/news/2013/7/14/bell-rates-hundred-his-best

Bell rates hundred his best

UPDATED 14 July, 2013 8:04AM AEST |

England batsman Ian Bell played the innings of his career to set England well on the path to victory in the first Ashes Test at Trent Bridge.

Bell's brilliant 109 on day four was the 18th Test century of his career, but comfortably the most important.

The 31-year-old has a reputation for often chipping in with runs when others have already done the dirty work.

But in Nottingham, Bell saved England from the clutches of defeat and steered them to a lead of 311.

Australia aren't done for yet but require 137 runs to win on the final day with just four wickets in hand.

Bell has erased the remnants of his mental frailties against Australia in the past and removed all doubt over his place in the Test team.
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After enduring a 16-month break between milestones before his last 100, Bell also signalled his intent as a major threat in this Ashes series.

More importantly, he did it against his greatest foe - one who has rendered him a nervous wreck in series past.

"I think it's certainly my best Ashes innings. It was nice to put an innings together when the team needed it most," Bell said.

"I always wanted to score as many runs as possible but you want to win Ashes cricket and be part of teams.

"It's not all about individual stuff, it's about being part of a team. When you finish cricket those teammates you played with are the good times. That's the thing that's important to me."

Despite scoring 329 at nearly 66 in England's most recent triumph in Australia, Bell still carried an average of just 32 into this series - mostly owing to his disastrous debut Ashes where he averaged just 17 as he came up short against Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne.

And while Stuart Broad (65), Bell's partner in crime for a match-defining 138-run partnership, had more than his fair share of good fortune along the way, the same cannot be said for Bell.

He was unmovable from the start of his six and a half hours at the crease.

"The wicket was pretty slow, reverse swing has played a massive part in this game," he said.

"I've played a lot of sub-continental cricket in last 12-18 months. It's something we've had to work out. This wicket is quite close to the sub-continent and our bowlers have been good at adapting.

"To use those skills to get us a decent lead on this pitch was very satisfying."

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

First Posted 14 July, 2013 7:57AM AEST

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