Double no trouble in Asia - Bell
More than 25 years have passed since an England player scored a Test double hundred in Asia, but Ian Bell feels the current batting unit are capable of ending that drought this winter.
In compiling an international-best 235 at the Kia Oval last week, Bell became the fourth member of England’s team to have reached 200 in the last 15 months, with Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen and Alastair Cook each achieving the feat twice.
Following their stunning 4-0 whitewash of India, Andrew Strauss’ side are not in Test action again until 2012, when they take on Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates before travelling to Sri Lanka.
Not since January 1985, when Graeme Fowler and Mike Gatting scored 201 and 207 respectively in the same innings against India in Chennai, has an England batsman doubled up on the world’s largest continent.
Yet Bell, now joint third with Cook in the International Cricket Council Test batting rankings, said: “When we get out there it’s about doing what we’ve done this summer and getting big scores.
“I don’t know the last time someone got a double hundred out there,” he added, prompting the assembled journalists to reach for their copies of Wisden.
“That’s going to be the goal and I’m sure Goochie (batting coach Graham Gooch) will be pushing us very hard.
“It’s something we’ve really improved on in the last 12 months. That’s what wins us Test matches, because with our bowling attack we know if we get big scores on the board in the first innings we are going to have a chance of winning a Test match.
“It’s something we’ve done very well here. The challenge now is to take it abroad where we probably haven’t done it as well.”
Bell is Test cricket’s leading run-scorer in 2011, with 950 at an average of 118.75, and admits he has taken great satisfaction from his sparkling run of from.
The 29-year-old is also revelling in England’s recent success, with the team now officially the world’s leading Test side.
He explained: “Personally, here and Trent Bridge probably is as well as I've played in an England shirt, so I'm obviously very pleased with that.
“The last 12 months, being involved with this team, has been very exciting - and this year, I guess you'll look back in years to come, has been exceptional.
"There's a lot of hard work to come, but this summer has been very enjoyable.”