Bell: It's nice to score tough runs

England

Batsman Ian Bell basked in a tremendous run of form, after carrying England to a lead of 202 – on day three of the fourth Ashes Test at Chester-le-Street in Durham on Sunday.

Batsman Ian Bell basked in a tremendous run of form, after carrying England to a lead of 202 – on day three of the fourth Ashes Test at Chester-le-Street in Durham on Sunday.

Bell's third ton of the series, and 20th of his career, ensured the five wickets the hosts secured in the opening 80 minutes of play were well complemented. All out for 270 in response to England's initial 238, the tourists later conceded 234 for five.

The right-handed Bell's 105 not out accounted for almost half of the home side's second innings, which endured an early scare – openers Joe Root and Alastair Cook and the out-of-form Jonathan Trott managed a mere 47 runs between them.

Bell and the South African-born Kevin Pietersen, however, cherished a 106-run alliance for the fourth wicket. Their stand largely rendered redundant the Aussies' opening inroads.

"It's nice. Obviously, it was a situation where we needed someone to get out there and get some runs. Kev played very well, and Jonny Bairstow as well, so it was nice to dig in, and we have to try and get as big a lead as we can," said Bell.

"It's nice to score tough runs. I haven't tried to do anything different than I was doing against New Zealand but something has clicked and it's good to be able to get in and go big. I'll just try and do the same on Monday."

The eventual centurion almost fell on 97, with some vicious bounce off a sharp length from the hand of seamer Jackson Bird nearly affording fielder Michael Clarke a catch at second slip. The delivery was a rare anomaly on an otherwise straightforward Riverside Ground pitch.

"Here at Durham there are periods of play where it will do nothing, but then the odd ball will. I don't know if the pitch will deteriorate. We'll try to get as many as we can first, and there usually is deterioration on days four and five. We need to bowl well and hopefully we'll get 10 chances," concluded Bell.

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