London:Hitting back at suggestions that England, comprehensively outplayed in their innings defeat by South Africa at The Oval this week and now beaten in five of their last nine Tests, batsman Ian Bell has defended his team’s No.1 status after doubts were raised that they are not really the world’s best cricket team.
When Bell was asked whether England were a phoney No.1 he replied: “You don’t just look at the last nine Test matches, you look over the last two or three years. That’s why we’re ranked No1.
“The points are monitored over a long period of time. It``s been a consistent effort over a long period but there``s no doubt when you see how South Africa played yesterday we``re going to have a real scrap on our hands.”
England must win one of the remaining two Test matches, at Headingley and Lord’s, and avoid defeat in the other if they are to draw the series and retain their top-ranking status.
According to Bell, England will not relinquish their position without a fight.
“We’re all very proud that we``ve got to No1 and we definitely want to stay there for a long period of time. We know this defeat wasn``t good enough but we must not go away thinking we have done well over a long period. We must look at certain issues that we could have done better,” he said.
“And we``re confident we can get back in the series. We start on nought at Headingley, the scoreboard starts again. There``s no doubt that, if we play the cricket we know we can, we can beat South Africa. If we don``t, we know how good they are and they won``t let us back in the game.
“Not one of us enjoyed these last five days and we want to put it right. It was thoroughly disappointing but everyone will be up for it, come next week.”