IN-FORM England batsman Ian Bell hopes to have played his way into the Twenty20 side for tomorrow’s first clash with Australia after starring in the warm-up win over a Prime Minister’s XI.
Bell hit an unbeaten 124 from 102 balls as England romped to a seven-wicket victory in Canberra, just three days after sealing their historic 3-1 triumph in the Ashes series.
That impressive knock followed the Warwickshire man’s ton in the fifth Test in Sydney, and makes him an even more compelling case as selectors ponder options for the first of two Twenty20 fixtures tomorrow in Adelaide.
An injury to Craig Kieswetter means there is a vacancy at the top of the order and, while Michael Lumb, a member of the World Cup winning side last year, has been added to the squad, the Hampshire opener is short of form.
Bell has not featured for the Twenty20 side since 2008, but said: “I’ll have to wait and see. I didn’t do myself any harm. I feel massively a part of this squad and I feel like I’m in good nick.”
Seven one-day internationals follow the Twenty20 dates and Bell is equally keen to nail down his place in the other limited-overs outfit.
“I’m not established in this one-day team yet and I want to nail that down and be a part of this England squad for a while,” added the 28-year-old.
“I feel in good form, but that doesn’t last forever. I can’t sit back, there’s a lot of work to do because I want to be a part of this team in Test cricket and one-day cricket for a long time.
“In all forms of the game we have good competition. I think this series is going to be like the Ashes – we aren’t going to need 11 people, we will need a squad. That’s showing now in our performances, and we’ve had some guys who have had a good run out today.”
Bell, Paul Collingwood, Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen were the only survivors from the fifth Test line-up to play at the Manuka Oval.
The hosts amassed 254 from a rain-reduced 43 overs before Bell and Trott (48) helped England coast to a revised Duckworth-Lewis target of 223.
Collingwood said of Bell: “He’s in fantastic form, he has been since he arrived in Australia. That was a very clinical innings and he has staked his claim for a place in the Twenty20 side. We’ll have to gauge things tomorrow and come up with a plan.”
Michael Yardy led an inexperienced England bowling attack with three for 33, as Chris Woakes, James Tredwell, Ajmal Shahzad and Luke Wright also enjoyed an outing. Shahzad, who was part of the Ashes squad but did not play, also took three wickets but at a cost of 61 runs.
“The best thing we had in the Test series was that we wanted to win all the warm-up games and that was the same message for this game,” Bell added. “We didn’t want to just come here and use it as practice, we wanted to come out and win. That was important for us and it’s helped us on this tour.”