Pick of the day
We review the pick of the action, opinion and video from day three of the fourth Ashes Test
Last Updated: 11/08/13 10:15pm
The Warwickshire batsman made 105 not out as England fought back against the Australians after the hosts slumped to 49-3.
Bell proved a thorn in the side of the Aussies for a third time this series as he took into a lead of 202 with five second innings wickets still remaining.
Crucial contributions from Kevin Pieterson and Jonny Bairstow kept the Aussies at bay in their desperate bid to win the match and head to the Oval with a chance to tie the series.
They missed a chance to put daylight between the two sides in the morning when they lost their last five wickets for 48 runs, Graeme Swann picking up two before the arrival of the second new ball, with which Stuart Broad completed a five wicket haul.
However, England are now favourites to go 3-0 up in the series and another 50 or more runs on the board will set their rivals a testing target.
Here we reflect on the third day's play in Durham with our picks of the day...
Man of the day
Once considered the weak link by the Australians, Ian Bell has proved beyond doubt over the course of the last two Ashes series that he is a force to be reckoned with. With his side teetering on 49-3 in the second innings, the Warwickshire batsman dug in and with Kevin Pietersen guided England to a position of strength, if not authority. The hosts' most technically correct batsman was in imperious form with many of his 10 boundaries coming through the off side. With his fourth century in five Tests against Australia, Bell has written his name in Ashes folklore. More importantly in the short term, while he remains at the crease England can look to play the Aussies out of the match and secure a series win.
Ryan Harris wasn't even in the picture at the start of the series as he continued his recovery from injury. However, he proved his fitness and after being recalled to the side has proved Australia's most effective seamer. He removed Joe Root with a virtually unplayable delivery and when he had Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott caught at the wicket England were wobbling. And while he told Sky Sports Ashes he wasn't entirely happy with the way the ball was coming out, he was delighted to be bowling well again for his country.
Umpires at fault
Nasser Hussain and Ian Botham were absolutely fuming when the umpires Aleem Dar and Tony Hill took the players off the field for 10 minutes for bad light with the score on 186-4. The light was palpably playable and players on both sides were unamused by the decision, particularly batsmen Ian Bell and Jonny Bairstow who were well set. However, the two Sky pundits laid into the umpires, Nasser saying the umpiring this series has been 'dreadful'.
Hussain lauds Bell
Hussain was quick to applaud the efforts of Bell after he wrested the initiative from the Aussies. "Ian Bell delivered yet again. There's that myth that people used to say about Bell only getting runs when others get runs ahead of him - well Bell has got runs in this series when no one else really has. We all know he's very strong through the offside and there have been a number of cover drives but he's got the back cut going well, too."
Sky Sports Ashes pundit Ian Botham believes another 100 runs for England will be enough to secure victory in the series. It was Ian Bell's day and the hosts are now well on top of the old enemy.
As it happened
You can relive all the best action from day three by reading our interactive commentary from Emirates Durham ICG. You can also view a gallery of the day's best images here.