England playing better than Australia: Bell

Melbourne: Australia may have momentum from their big Perth Test win but England are playing better cricket going into the fourth Ashes Test, England batsman Ian Bell said on Thursday.

Australia’s stunning reversal of form to win last week’s third Test by 267 runs and level the five-match series at one-all has given Ricky Ponting’s men a massive confidence boost.

“Certainly, they have got some momentum going into it (the fourth Test),” Bell told a press conference on Thursday.

“They played some fantastic cricket at the WACA. (But) out of the three Test matches I’d say we’ve been playing the better cricket.”

“We’re going to have to start the Test match well,” he said. “We don’t want Australia winning the first hour or that first session.

“It’d be great for us to be able to come out and win that first session, whether we’re batting or bowling, and try and take (back) a bit of that momentum.”

Bell, 28, is second in England’s batting averages for the series with 213 runs at 71.00, trailing opener Alastair Cook’s tally of 495 at 123.75.

His sparkling form, including top-scoring with 53 in England’s first-innings total of 187 in Perth, has prompted calls for Bell to be promoted to number five ahead of Paul Collingwood.

Collingwood is averaging 15.50 in the series and looked out of sorts in Perth, making 5 and 11.

“It’s always nice to get moved up the order,” Bell said, but the 60-Test veteran added he has not spoken with team management about a promotion.

“Whether I move up the order doesn’t really matter as long as we’re winning the next two Test matches,” he said.

“That’s the most important thing to me, contributing to this team winning the Ashes. It’s probably one of the most exciting Test matches
we’re going into. Playing in Melbourne is something you look forward to, a Boxing Day Test match is always special.”

Bell, who averaged just 25.68 in 13 previous Ashes Tests before the current series, feels he has improved significantly in the past 18 months.

However, a century in an Ashes Test eludes him.

“I’m desperate for an Ashes hundred, there’s no doubt about that. I’m hoping with the way I’m playing there’s one around the corner,” he said.


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