Sun, Dec 01, 2013 - Page 20 News List

No. 5 batsman Bell says he is ‘absolutely willing’ to fill in for absent Trott at No. 3

Reuters

Ian Bell is “absolutely willing” to replace Jonathan Trott at the No. 3 spot in England’s batting order when the second Ashes Test against Australia starts on Thursday.

Trott, the regular No. 3, left the tour to deal with a stress-related problem a day after England’s comprehensive defeat in Brisbane.

“We’ve spoken about it, and obviously I’ve said I’m absolutely willing to go to No. 3,” Bell, who bats at five, told reporters after the tourists drew their warm-up match against a Cricket Australia Chairman’s XI yesterday.

“That decision is probably out of my control. We’ve got a number of options with the batting and the balance of the side — but absolutely I’ll put my hand up. We’ll soon see,” he said.

Joe Root (one), another contender for Trott’s position, was the only second innings casualty in England’s score of 47-1 when stumps were drawn in the two-day warm-up match.

Gary Ballance, who struck a patient half-century in the first innings to stake claim for a Test debut, was unbeaten on eight with Michael Carberry (37) at the crease.

“Gary Ballance has done really well, batting for a long period on a wicket that was not easy to score runs fluently,” Bell said. “We want guys who are going to bat long periods of time in this series, so he showed some good character.”

The home side earlier declared their first innings on 254-8 as the English pace trio of Boyd Rankin, Steven Finn and Ben Stokes failed to impress.

The ineffectiveness of the pacemen will surely open the path for Tim Bresnan to earn a spot if he can prove his fitness.

Bresnan, hoping for a recall after recovering from a stress fracture in his back, took four wickets and made a half-century while playing for the England Performance squad this week.

Graeme Swann picked up four wickets while left-arm spinner Monty Panesar scalped three in welcome signs for the England bowling attack ahead of Adelaide, where the pitch has historically aided the batsmen more.

Panesar was England’s trump card during the series win in India last year, but has been blighted by disciplinary issues during the English summer.

“It’s not easy coming on tour when you’ve not played a lot of cricket,” Bell said. “I’m sure he’ll be a bit sore, but he bowled really well.”

“It was nice to see him settle into a rhythm very quickly and it is a possibility he could play [in Adelaide] — we’ve got that flexibility if we need two spinners,” he said.

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