Ian Bell warns England must not rest on their laurels
Last Updated: 02/08/14 11:29am
Ian Bell has called on England to build on their impressive third-Test win over India as they go in pursuit of a series victory.
Bell, who bounced back to form with a first-innings century at the Ageas Bowl, insisted their 266-run triumph would count for nothing if they failed to back it up with strong showings in the final two Tests, starting at Old Trafford on August 7.
“It was a start for us all. It was a really good five days but that is all that it is,” Bell told Sky Sports News. “The next Test match we have to start all over again and do it again.”
Bell welcomed the return to form of Alastair Cook after the captain hit 95 and 70 not out to answer the criticism that has come his way this summer.
And the batsman believes his captain is beginning to rediscover the form that has helped him to accumulate 8,327 Test runs, which has taken him to third on England’s all-time list.
"Cookie said himself that he works as hard as anyone on his game but, as with all of us, it doesn’t guaranteed that you will go out and score hundreds,” Bell said.
“There were signs that he was starting to play well and, he said himself, the ball was going down the ground, which is a good sign for any batsman. It would have been nice to see him get a hundred in the first innings but again to get 70 not out in the second was very important.
“The way he played allowed myself and Joe Root to come in and play with some freedom and get that score we needed for our bowlers to go and win the Test match.”
Bell overhauled his own recent poor form in the third Test to score 156 in the first innings before adding some important quick runs in the second innings at the Ageas Bowl.
“I felt like I had been playing nicely this summer without any big scores,” he said. “I felt pretty fluent from ball one in that Test match. The nice thing about going to the Ageas Bowl is that you are playing on one of the best cricket pitches in the country.
“There is something for everyone; there is a bit of pace and bounce, and spin towards the end of the game but it’s also good for batting.
"I really enjoyed going out and playing as well as I can play and hopefully I can take that to Old Trafford now.”
You can watch the fourth Test between England and India live on Sky Sports 2HD on Thursday from 10am.