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Bell open to further graft

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Ian Bell is all too aware that there is plenty of work to be done as he looks to establish himself at the top of England's one-day international order.

Bell was given the opportunity to open the innings alongside Alastair Cook for the NatWest Series against West Indies and responded in fine style.

The Warwickshire man followed up 126 at the Ageas Bowl with a half-century at the Kia Oval on Tuesday.

That left England with an unassailable 2-0 lead in the rubber heading to Headingley Carnegie, where the third ODI was abandoned due to relentless rain.

Bell, however, does not believe it is a case of job done and is looking to continue his fine form in the five-match contest with Australia, which gets under way at Lord's next Friday.

"It is nowhere near job done," he said. "It was nice to start well and obviously I want to keep playing and batting with Cooky at the top.

Ian Bell

Ian Bell is hoping to prosper further at the top of England's one-day international order when they face Australia in the five-match NatWest Series

"If we can get us off to good starts then we obviously have the firepower in the middle order that can always take us to a good score.

"If we get scores on the board with our five world-class bowlers, it is going to be hard for teams to whack it around.

"If I can carry on the way I did in this series, it will be great."

Bell earned the spot by virtue of Kevin Pietersen retiring from limited-overs international cricket.

Yet at one stage, it appeared he may miss the series opener after taking a blow to the chin in the nets.

The 30-year-old now feels it may have been a blessing in disguise as his mind was not focussed on the pressure of trying to impress.

Asked whether he thought this series represented his last chance to perform in ODI cricket, Bell responded: "Possibly.

"But I did not really think about it to be honest; the hit on the head took a lot of my thoughts away from what ifs and stuff like that.

"I felt in good form from the Test matches and felt if I could carry that on then I could score runs in the one-day format as well."

For Bell and opening partner Cook, the focus will now turn to Australia as they are not part of the squad for Sunday's Twenty20 international against West Indies.

The visit of the old enemy is sure to get the juices flowing, with Bell and skipper Cook in agreement about the difficulty of the awaiting challenge.

"They are obviously the number-one ranked side in the world in ODIs," said Bell. "So it is obviously going to be a tough series.

"Then again, we play really well at home so it is going to be a really good series to be involved in."

Cook added: "It will be a very big series for us as a one-day team."

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