Bell plots repeat plunder of Proteas
Ian Bell’s 199 versus South Africa at Lord’s four years ago is viewed by many as a watershed in his Test career.
Although he had to wait until last year - against India at the Kia Oval - for a Test double-century, Bell’s 2008 hundred at the home of cricket put beyond doubt his right to play for England in the longest format.
Bell’s Test record at Lord’s - where England must beat the Proteas this week to share the Investec Series and remain top of the International Cricket Council rankings - is outstanding.
The 30-year-old right-hander averages 66 compared to a still strong career equivalent of 47. Bell’s 199 is one of his three Test tons at HQ and he is naturally hoping for another this week.
“Every Test match you aim to go there and score as many runs as possible. Sometimes it just doesn’t work like that,” Bell, whose best in this rubber is 55 at the Oval - one of two second-innings rearguards, told ecb.co.uk.
“A couple of the innings I’ve had to just try and bat as long as possible for the draw. This one hopefully I can go out and play like I want to play and go out and hopefully score a hundred.
“(I’m) looking forward to it. Lord’s is a good place to go and bat and I’m really excited about it.”
Following Kevin Pietersen’s omission, Bell will be the most experienced member of a middle-order likely to include James Taylor and Jonny Bairstow - who have four Test caps between them.
While Bairstow’s three appearances came versus West Indies earlier this summer, Taylor made his debut in last week’s draw at Headingley Carnegie.
Taylor impressed Bell in Leeds where the diminutive batsman’s only innings was a composed 34 in a 147-run stand with Pietersen that put pressure on the Proteas.
“That’s the great thing with the dressing room and with the whole English cricket set-up at the minute, with the Lions,” Bell added.
“It’s very much people moving in between and I think for young players now to slot into the England team is quite nice. The dressing room is very open and welcoming.
“He (Taylor) fitted in beautifully and actually played a nice supporting role for Kev, which was a great start for him.”