Ashes 2013: Ian Bell thrilled with 20th ton as England take control
Ashes 2013: Ian Bell insists he relished the chance of re-building England's inning as the hosts ended day three on top in Durham
Ian Bell insisted he relished the task of re-building England’s second innings after the host ended the third day on top at the Durham ICG.
The Warwickshire man’s 105 – the 20th century of his career – helped the home side recover from 49-3, to close on 234-5, a lead of 202 runs.
Reaching the milestone meant that he became the third Englishman, after Maurice Leyland and David Gower, to score a trio of centuries in a home Ashes campaign.
His contributions have played an invaluable role in helping to retain the urn inside 14 days, and despite the pressured circumstances, he says that this is something he enjoys.
“It’s a nice situation to be in. We just needed somebody to get out there and get runs,” Bell told BBC Sport.
“Kev played really well too and it was nice to dig in as a partnership and get some runs.
“I haven’t tried to do anything different from what I was against New Zealand but something’s clicked. It’s nice to get in and be able to go big.”
Earlier in the day, Australia’s hopes of gaining a big first-innings lead were dashed as they lost five wickets for just 48 runs after clinical bowling from the England attack.
They were given a lifeline soon after though as Alastair Cook, Joe Root and Jonathan Trott all departed cheaply, but Bell’s partnerships of 106 with Kevin Pietersen (44) followed by a stand of 66 runs with Jonny Bairstow (28) ensured that they wrestled control from the tourists.
Bell now believes that the hosts now have the perfect platform to build a winning charge in the final two days.
“We need to get as many runs as we can tomorrow and then hopefully bowl well and get ten chances.
“I’m sure there’ll be some deterioration, there always is on days four and five, but to take as many as we can tomorrow will be nice.
“For periods, it (the pitch) does nothing but then the odd ball will. That’s how it is here at Durham.”