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Ian Bell: Must utilise this momentum

Manchester: Ian Bell has called on his teammates to build on their impressive third-Test win over India as England go in pursuit of a series victory.

Bell, who regained to form with a first-innings century in Southampton, insisted England’s 266-run triumph would count for nothing if they failed to back it up with strong showings in the final two Tests, the first of which starts, here, at Old Trafford, on Thursday.

“It was a start for all of us. It was a really good five days of cricket for us, but that’s all that it is,” an England-based website quoted Bell as saying.

“In the next Test match, we need to start all over again and do it again… We must use this momentum…”

Bell welcomed captain Alastair Cook’s return to form after the latter hit 95 and 70 not out to answer the criticisms that had come his way this summer. Bell believes Cook is beginning to rediscover the form that has helped him accumulate 8,327 Test runs, which took him to third on England’s all-time highest scorers’ list in the longer version.

“Cookie himself had said that he works as hard as anyone on his game but, as with all of us, it doesn’t guarantee that you will go out and score hundreds,” Bell explained.

“There were signs that he was starting to play well and as he had said himself, the ball was going down the ground, which is a good sign for any batsman.

“It would have been nice to see him get a hundred in the first innings, but to again get 70 not out in the second was very important. The way he played allowed myself and Joe Root to come in and play with some freedom and get that score we needed for our bowlers to go and win the Test match.”

Bell overhauled his own recent poor form in the previous Test to score 167 in the first innings before adding some quick runs in the second, at the Ageas Bowl. “I felt like I had been playing nicely this summer without any big scores,” he said.

“I felt pretty fluent from ball one in that Test match. The nice thing about going to the Ageas Bowl is that you are playing on one of the best pitches.” (AGENCIES)