Ashes 2013-14: Ian Bell confident England can continue to fight on the final day in Perth
Ian Bell believes England are still in with a shout of pulling off an unlikely victory in the third Test in Perth.
Last Updated: 16/12/13 6:33pm
England finally showed some much-needed fight with the bat with Bell and Ben Stokes both scoring half-centuries at the WACA, while Kevin Pietersen scored 45.
However at 251-5 and needing to smash the Test record for a run chase to overhaul Australia's lead of 503, it seems that England's middle order have only delayed the inevitable.
Bell, though, insists that the tourists are capable of the impossible - particularly with Stokes (72no) and Matt Prior (7no) at the crease.
Bell told Sky Sports: "If the two that are in can carry on for a while and get us to lunch then you never know.
"There are a few cracks on the wicket but apart from that it is a pretty good surface."
Bell and Stokes had shared a fifth-wicket stand off 99 - England's second highest partnership during a disappointing tour.
And Bell claims Durham all-rounder Stokes, who reached his maiden Test 50 during the evening session, has a bright future ahead of him.
"Since we have been here in the nets he has looked a quality batsman," said Bell.
"I know he has been bowling at a good pace as well so he could be a real find for us going forward.
"He has a great attitude and everything about him looks he is going to have a great career with England, so a very exciting cricketer for us."
Stokes was happy to protect Prior from the strike towards the end of the day, with the England wicketkeeper having struggled with the bat over the past year.
However Bell is confident that Prior can recapture his battling best form to frustrate the Australians on Tuesday.
"I think he is ready for a bit of a fight to be honest," said Bell.
"I think he is ready to get out there and have a bit of a scrap but that's Matt. He has done that for such a long time for us.
"We know he hasn't had a great eight, nine months but he is a quality player and if he has a bit of luck and Stokesy stays with him he will give it a good go."
Australia were able to build the substantial lead during the opening session - with the hosts able to add 134 runs in 17 overs to reach 369-6.
Shane Watson led the way with 103, although a comedy of errors from England in the field contributed to their problems.
And Bell admits the tourists had failed to impress during the morning's play.
"It was a disappointing morning and I don't think we set the standards we normally do in the field," he added. "I can hold my hand up for that one.
"Watson came out and played exceptionally well. We know he is a powerful player and with the straight boundaries here he only has to get half of it and it is six.
"I think we let ourselves down a little bit in the field but we have come back and shown some fight with the bat."