Bell tolls loudly
England took a narrow lead over Bangladesh at the end of third day's play of the second Test at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium yesterday, courtesy of a dogged hundred from Ian Bell and half-centuries from Matthew Prior and Tim Bresnan.
Bell arrived at the crease on Sunday when England were in a spot of bother losing three of their top-order batsmen for 107 in reply to Bangladesh's 419.
Having survived the rest of the day scoring 25, the 27-year-old batsman yesterday single-handedly guided the innings from a position of uncertainty towards relative safety grafting against good bowling and the heat and he batsman admitted that in the post-match briefing.
"It was tough. We knew we had to play well. The heat and everything else made the condition pretty demanding. It was a difficult day."
After losing overnight partner Jonathan Trott early, Bell found wicketkeeper-batsman Matthew Prior as his partner to add 98 runs in the partnership.
Bell dispatched the ball at will and reached his tenth hundred gliding Rubel Hossain for four behind point. The Warwickshire batsman was elated with the feat.
"It's a nice feeling to get to double figures of centuries in Test cricket. That is something I've worked hard to achieve. I kept working hard. It feels good to be in a good nick going into the summer," he said.
After scoring a 262-ball 138 and taking England past 400, Bell got out when his attempt to sweep against Shakib Al Hasan went awry and Jahurul Islam took an easy catch at mid-wicket. However, he might have been back to the pavilion long before had the umpire judged correctly to a leg-before appeal from Abdur Razzaq when he was on 82. And that decision wasn't the only one that went against the hosts; there were two others that hurt the hosts badly. Bell sympathised with his opponents too.
"Sometimes decisions go in your favour, sometimes they don't. That's cricket. Unfortunately for Bangladesh some of the decisions went against them today [Monday] and in our favour. But in the last six months, we were at the receiving end of many bad decisions. Hopefully a few more goes in favour [of us] in the coming days."
And he reserved some praise for the good outing from the hosts throughout the Test.
"Bangladesh batted fantastically well. They've bowled well too, bowled in good areas. Hats off to them, because they've played some good cricket overall in this Test."
Having admitted that Bell still thought that England were in a position from where they can force a win in this match. England lead the first innings by 21 runs and have Bresnan at the wicket who is on 74.
"I don't see why it may not be possible from here. There are still two days left in the match. We will have to play fantastic cricket. We are going to give absolutely everything to make it happen."