Bell rescues England with 20th Test century

Julian Harris
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ENGLAND batsman Ian Bell came to his team’s rescue with a superb century in the fourth Ashes Test yesterday at Durham, and insists that he and his colleagues must pile more runs onto the board when play resumes this morning.

Bell batted for most of the afternoon and evening sessions, hitting 10 boundaries on the way to an excellent 105 not out – the 20th Test century of his career.

The Warwickshire batsman has been England’s strongest performer with the bat during the series, hitting three centuries. Only two other Englishmen – Maurice Leyland in 1934 and David Gower 1985 – have scored three centuries during a home Ashes series.

“We need to get as many as we possibly can tomorrow,” Bell said last night. “It’s going to be crucial, every run we can get will [make it] harder for Australia to bat last.”

The day started with Australia just 16 runs behind England’s first innings total, yet Brad Haddin fell in the first full over of the morning and the tourists were all out before lunch – ending on 270, a slightly disappointing 32-run lead.

Yet England’s attempt to survive until the interval was broken by an exceptionally good delivery from Ryan Harris which struck Joe Root’s off stump.

England wobbled after lunch as Harris dismissed Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott, yet Bell came in to contribute to a 106-run stand with Kevin Pietersen, who was finally out for 44. Jonny Bairstow was out for 28 as Tim Bresnan came in as nightwatchman.