England v India, 3rd Test: Ian Bell praises young duo Gary Ballance and Jos Buttler
Last Updated: 29/07/14 7:37am
Ian Bell was happy to make a major contribution as England piled on the runs on day two of the third Test against India.
Warwickshire batsman Bell enjoyed a welcome return to form, as his superb knock of 167 helped the hosts reach 569-7 before they declared in their first innings at the Ageas Bowl.
Individual things are nice along the way but the most important thing is we've had a good day as a team.
Gary Ballance continued his stellar start to his Test career with 156, while an impressive 85 from Test debutant Jos Buttler made sure England's batting unit finally fired as a group.
Left to face a tricky 14-over stint before stumps, during which time the floodlights had to be turned on, India lost opener Shikhar Dhawan to close on 25-1.
"We talked about getting first innings runs and today's probably the first time we've done it properly, and how the batting unit wanted to do it, which was nice," Bell told Sky Sports.
"Our target then was two (wickets) tonight and then if you get two first thing tomorrow morning you can put some real pressure on India. The guys bowled really well and if we keep banging away at full length there's a little bit there."
Bell's century was his first since the home Ashes series last summer and took him past the 7,000-run mark in Test cricket, although he put the team's efforts above any personal glory.
"Every time you get a hundred for England it's special. I just enjoy trying to get as many as I can and contributing," he added.
"Individual things are nice along the way but the most important thing is we've had a good day as a team."
Bell was also quick to praise the efforts of Ballance - who has now made three centuries in his first six Tests - and wicket-keeper Buttler.
"His hunger for runs is incredible," the right-hander said about Ballance, with the pair having put on 142 for the third wicket. "His first-class record is incredible as well.
"The way he just goes about it, leads really well, he's hard to bowl at. He's also a really calm presence, which is what we need in the team now.
As for Buttler, he added: "The way Jos played at the end there, that was amazing. He's come in and showed those kind of skills we all know he has, but to do it in a Test match on debut - it's good to see that."