Bell invests hope in Pietersen

England

Batsman Ian Bell is hopeful half-centurion Kevin Pietersen will lead England to a formidable total, come day two of the fourth Ashes Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Friday.

Batsman Ian Bell is hopeful half-centurion Kevin Pietersen will lead England to a formidable total, come day two of the fourth Ashes Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Friday.

Pietersen moved to a fighting 67 not out, as the tourists limped to 226 for six on Thursday, as fast bowlers Mitchell Johnson and Ryan Harris continued the hosts' fine stretch of form.

The visitors enjoyed a string of solid starts, but no batsman other than Pietersen was able to welcome innings of significance. Bell, meanwhile, reached 27 before holing out to wicketkeeper Brad Haddin.

"With Kevin not out it's a good sign for us. A lot of us got starts and are disappointed not to get scores. We would have liked a few more runs as well," said Bell.

"It's not a lack of effort of anything and Australia have bowled in great areas.
"We need big runs and we've not got them, but if Kevin can hang around, maybe we will get 300-plus and put some pressure on Australia.

"I've been in good touch personally but I am as guilty as anyone. It's something we're aware of and need to work on. We need to get back to scoring big runs.
"We need to find the right balance and put pressure on the bowler."

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England replaced spinner Graeme Swann, who retired from first-class and Test match cricket with immediate effect last week, with left-arm spinner Monty Panesar. Batsman Jonny Bairstow was picked ahead of vice-captain Matt Prior.

"The camp is good, it's good to see young, fresh faces. We are trying to enjoy this occasion and scrap hard. We showed fight with young guys," added Bell.

"Everyone is entitled to make their own decision on when their time is up. I've not spoke properly with Graeme, but that was his decision. He felt he had no more. He has been a great player to play with for England."

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