You ain’t seen nothing yet, Bell tells cricket World Cup rivals

2011-02-28 15:35

Ian Bell has insisted there is plenty more to come from England at the World Cup following their thrilling tie with co-hosts India that breathed new life into the group phase of the tournament.

England, set an imposing 339 to win, finished on 338 for eight after Bell, who made 69, helped captain Andrew Strauss put on 170 for the third wicket in a match where the skipper went on to a career-best 158.

Although England conceded their highest World Cup total during yesterday’s match, having gone for 292 in their opening six-wicket win over the Netherlands, Bell said bowling was hard work on flat subcontinental pitches and that the team would improve during the course of this event.

“We haven’t played our best cricket yet and we have just tied with India, chasing 338,” said Bell ahead of their return to the Chinnaswamy Stadium for Wednesday’s match against Ireland.

“That has got to be a good sign. We just need to make sure that we play better cricket as this tournament goes on – there is no point playing it now.”

He added: “Our batting unit has been playing well, certainly Strauss, and that is exciting for us.

Bell had the best view in the ground for much of Strauss’s innings, the highest score by an England batsman in a World Cup match, and he was in no doubt about the quality of the left-handed opener’s effort.

“It was probably the best knock I have seen for a long, long time and probably the best knock I have ever seen from an England player.

“It had everything. He hit his boundaries when he wanted to, he rotated the strike, he played his sweeps and he looked very hard to bowl to.

“It really was for the rest of us a template of how you play a proper one-day innings.”

England, who’ve never won the World Cup, missed the reverse-swing variations of the ill Stuart Broad and Bell added: “We were without Broady last night who has probably been our leading one-day bowler for a period of time now. It is a good sign for us that we still did so well.

As for England’s attack, a sympathetic Bell paid tribute to the performance of Yorkshire seamer Tim Bresnan, who celebrated his 26th birthday yesterday, who took important late wickets against India to finish with career-best figures of five for 48 in 10 overs.

“The wickets have been very hard to bowl on. It is difficult to have a go at any bowler who goes the distance on those kinds of wickets.

“But to have a guy (Bresnan) that gets five for 40-odd in 10 overs, that was the outstanding performance on that kind of surface.”

As for his feelings about tying a match England could equally have won and lost, Bell said: “We have taken a lot more positives than we have negatives.

“I feel very lucky to have played in a game like that. It was one of the best World Cup games I have ever been involved in. It was an incredible game.”

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