Bell still drawing on Gooch influence

England

The talented Ian Bell has hailed the positive influence of England's former batting coach Graham Gooch, after returning to form with a big century in last week's comfortable victory over India at the Rose Bowl.

The talented Ian Bell has hailed the positive influence of England's former batting coach Graham Gooch, after returning to form with a big century in last week's comfortable victory over India at the Rose Bowl.

Bell had managed a mere 114 runs in five innings prior to a resounding 165 in the first innings in Southampton, where the English welcomed a series-leveling 266-run win ahead of Tests four and five at Old Trafford and The Oval respectively.

He has since revealed a fruitful practice session with Gooch, who left the coaching staff in the wake of a five-nil whitewash at the hands of Australia earlier this year, aided the success.

"We have a really good set-up with England, but sometimes it's nice to have another set of eyes. I used to have Neil Abberley here at Warwickshire, someone you could chat through a few things with. Because they're not so attached to the game, there's less emotion involved, and it's nice to do that with Goochy – a net session with someone who can help me reconnect in a different way," the <i>Daily Mail</i> quoted Bell as saying.

"He does one-on-one net sessions really well. He never goes through the motions. He puts you under the pump, which is where you are in a Test match. He never gets over-complicated or technical. It's about making sure you're in the right frame of mind.

"As Gooch always says, you should always be looking to score runs, not just to survive. It's nice to refresh that from time to time. Generally we're always exchanging text messages. And if he's available I try to make the most of him for a couple of hours. If I get the chance I'd like to keep doing that."

Fast bowler Steven Finn, meanwhile, has replaced all-rounder Liam Plunkett in the squad for the clash in Manchester, which will start on Thursday. Plunkett, who did not play in the third Test, sustained an ankle injury during the second at Lord's in London.

Finn, who hasn't played the longest format of the international game since July 2013 against Australia at Trent Bridge in Nottingham, has gathered a fine stretch of form in the County Championship recently.

"Liam experienced some left ankle discomfort at the end of the second Test and will miss the fourth Test as this continues to settle," read a statement from the England and Wales Cricket Board. "He will be replaced by Steven in the squad for the upcoming Test at Old Trafford."

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