One of the biggest reasons why England are so emphatically placed in the current Ashes series is because Ian Bell has been in exceptional form with the bat even as some of the other senior batsmen in the side have struggled. In three of the four Tests, Ian Bell has come up with match-winning hundreds, and has so far scored exactly 500 runs at an average of 71. Overall, Bell has featured in 22 Tests and has scored 1471 runs at an average of 39.75 with four hundreds, and a highest of 115. Here’s tracing Bell’s ever-improving fortunes in the Ashes over the years.
2005 Ashes: Even though England had a memorable Ashes series, reclaiming the historic series after a prolonged gap, Bell had a forgettable series. Both his technique and temperament were exposed as he accumulated only 171 runs over five Tests at a miserable average of 17. He got only two half-centuries in the series, 65 and 59, both at Manchester. In fact, he had only three double figure scores in the entire series.
2006/07 Ashes: Bell showedslightimprovementin this series, but his performance was average at best. Over the five Tests, Bell gathered 331 runs at an average of 33, with a highest of 87. The most disappointing aspect of Bell’s performance during this Ashes was the fact that he could not go on to register a single hundred in spite of getting four half-centuries. Bell got 50 at Brisbane, 60 at Adelaide, 87 at Perth and 71 at Sydney. He got starts even in the other innings – 26 at Adelaide and 28 at Sydney. Overall, it was another below par effort.
2009 Ashes: Another Ashes and another forgettable series for Bell. The batsman featured in three of the Tests and managed to score only 140 runs averaging 28 with a highest of 72. Out of six innings, Bell got 53 at Birmingham and 72 at The Oval. His other knocks in the series were all single figure scores – 8 and 3 at Leeds and 4 at The Oval. Bell went ton-less for the third Ashes in a row.
2011 Ashes: This was the Ashesin which Bell finally exploited his potential. The experience of the past failures had definitely made Bell a better and much more mature player. In five Tests, Bell gathered 329 runs at an impressive average of 66. The much elusive hundred finally came his way. Bell made a magnificent 115 in the New Year Test at Sydney. Bell was consistency-personified throughout the series. Apart from the ton at Sydney, he made 76 at Brisbane, 68 not out at Adelaide and 53 at Perth.
2013 Ashes: The current Ashes has been the story of Bell’s magnificence. He made 109 at Nottingham, 109 and 74 at Lord’s, 60 at Old Trafford and 113 at Chester-le-Street. Whatever he does at The Oval, Bell seems set to be chosen as the player of the series, as he has made the most significant impact on the 2013 Ashes.
--By A Cricket Analyst