Bell praises bowlers' efforts

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Watch Ian Bell's reaction to the Ashes-retaining victory at the MCG

Ian Bell expressed his delight at England regaining the Ashes with an innings-and-157-run win at the MCG - but revealed things could have been very different.

The tourists dominated Australia from the off in Melbourne as seamers James Anderson, Chris Tremlett and Tim Bresnan reduced the hosts to a paltry 98 all out in overcast conditions on day one.

And Jonathan Trott’s unbeaten 168 proved the mainstay of England’s mammoth 513 in reply as batting conditions improved.

But Bell says captain Andrew Strauss was planning to bat first if he won the toss - before a change of heart 20 minutes before the coin was spun.

“Speaking to Straussy and the guys that make the decision about the toss and stuff, it was only 20 minutes before the toss we were going to bat first if we won the toss,” Bell told

“To change our mind and bowl first - I think sometimes when you win the toss and bowl the pressure that’s on the bowlers to actually deliver - I think credit has to go to the bowlers for delivering the skills under massive pressure.

James Anderson & Chris Tremlett

James Anderson and Chris Tremlett shone in the first innings and Bell said: "Credit has to go to the bowlers for delivering"

“I think when we got that result of bowling them out for 98 obviously we were in the box seat. But we still had to deliver runs and, as we have done since we’ve been in Australia, we batted well as a group.”

The Warwickshire star was also quick to salute the Barmy Army for their continued support, particularly those who had returned Down Under after a disappointing 2006-07 campaign.

He added: “I remember four years ago when we lost 5-0 the support was amazing and to come here now and pay back a bit of what the supporters went through four years ago it’s incredible to be honest with you.

“In a way to win the Ashes at the MCG is even better than to do it at the Oval. It’s a feeling that you can’t really say in words. Just an unbelievable feeling really.”

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