England middle-order batsman Ian Bell is currently featuring in his 100th Test as the hosts are facing Sri Lanka in the second match of the series at Leeds. On the occasion, here’s a look at five of his best Test knocks over the years.
115 against Pakistan at Faisalabad, November 2005: This was Ian Bell’s first hundred against a major Test opponent. Scoring a ton on the dry pitches on the sub-continent is always a high for a player from abroad. And, Bell would also be pleased with his effort against Pakistan. Batting at number four, Bell faced 272 balls and hit seven fluent fours en route to his 115. It was an innings played under pressure. Pakistan batted first and made 462. In response, England were struggling at 39 for 2, before Bell and Pietersen slammed tons. Bell was out for a duck the second time round, but England managed to secure a draw.
110 vs New Zealand at Napier, March 2008: A ton is always extra special when it comes in a win. In that sense, his knock against the Kiwis should be rated highly. Ryan Sidebottom was the star of the match, who brought his side back in the game after they were dismissed for 253 in the first innings. It was important that England batted well a second time round. Bell smashed 110 from 167 balls with 17 fours and 2 sixes to set New Zealand an extremely a tough target, which they couldn’t chase down.
199 vs South Africa at Lord’s, July 2008: He may have missed out on a double hundred, but it was a brilliant knock without doubt. England batted first in the game, and finished with a massive 593 for 8. Bell’s contribution was a brilliant 199 from 336 balls with 20 fours and 1 six. It was a knock during which Bell rarely seemed in trouble, an innings which lasted nearly 500 minutes. Halfway through the match it seemed the hosts would sail to victory, but South Africa batted with great resolve in their second innings to save the day for their team.
115 vs Australia at Sydney, January 2011: This was a special game for England as they thrashed the Aussies, and won the Ashes 3-1. As much as three Englishmen slammed hundreds in the Test, Bell being one of them. His 115 was a mature knock, during which he did not hit a single six but smashed 13 fours. England finished with 644 and won the Test by a margin of an innings and 83 runs.
235 vs India at Kennington Oval, August 2011: England batted first in this Test and put up a massive 591 for 6 on the board. Bell was the standout performer in the game. His 235 came off 364 balls with 23 fours and 2 sixes. Bell batted for nearly 500 minutes once again. Thanks to Bell’s brilliance, England went on to win the match by an innings and eight runs.
--By A Cricket Analyst