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Bell keen to put in hard yards

Investec Test Series

Ian Bell

Ian Bell's fifty put England in a useful position but three figures was a tough ask on a pitch already misbehaving

Ian Bell is determined to prolong his Test career by making runs for England when the going gets tough.

Bell top-scored yesterday with a gritty 72 as the hosts posted 307 for eight on the first day of the Ashes decider at the Brit Oval.

Put in perspective of competitive first innings scores in recent Oval Tests, that would appear to hand the initiative to Australia.

However, with an extremely dry pitch already misbehaving, England’s total could well put their opponents under pressure.

Bell battled for 137 balls, striking 10 fours and adding 102 for the second wicket with captain Andrew Strauss, who had won the toss.

The Warwickshire batsman again fell short of three figures in his 13th Test against Australia, but he remains desperate to put that right.

"One innings is not going to change people's opinions, but I've been working really hard to make sure it's not just the easy runs I get," Bell said.

"If you're going to be hyper-critical, I need to go on and score hundreds."

Australia need only draw to take the campaign and were boosted by the performance of Peter Siddle, who claimed four wickets to shoot to the top of the wicket-taker's list for the series.

And after the tourists stressed they would not play for a draw at the Oval, the paceman is sure there will be a positive result.

"England worked hard and after lunch we came out to be patient and try to work them over,” Siddle said.

"We won every hour from then on and looked the team on top.

"A draw is out there but there is a bit in it if you are patient enough.

"The way both teams have played this series has been aggressive, it's been attacking, and if we have five days of good weather there is definitely going to be a result, for sure."

Please note: there are London Underground weekend engineering works that may affect your journey to the Brit Oval on days 3/4 of the Test - for the latest information see the Tfl website

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