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Old 14th August 2007, 16:52   #141
geoff_boycotts_grandmother
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Its easier to blast runs when the field are all in catching positions and the opposition aren't bothered about saving runs.

I hoped that that might be a breakthrough innings for Bell, the one which would give him the confidence to go out there and play his own game and play match changing innings. Then he got out.
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Old 14th August 2007, 20:57   #142
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Found this on 606, though MF might appreiciate it

http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/606/A25893651
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Old 14th August 2007, 21:01   #143
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Originally Posted by °Rey de España° View Post
Found this on 606, though MF might appreiciate it

http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/606/A25893651
Ah, 606. I remember...
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Old 14th August 2007, 21:03   #144
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Old 14th August 2007, 21:08   #145
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Quote:
Originally Posted by °Rey de España° View Post
Found this on 606, though MF might appreiciate it

http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/606/A25893651
I'm very surprised anyone bothered to reply at all.
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Old 14th August 2007, 21:19   #146
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I thought I'd better cut and paste my assessment of Bell's performance from the match thread.

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I would say Prior and Bell contributed equally to saving the match given that they occupied the crease for almost exactly the same number of deliveries.

I too found Bell's innings very odd indeed but haven't mentioned it until now lest I be accused of being unduly harsh on him. In a recent article I read the author made the point that no member of the England team had such an appetite for easy runs and this appeared to be in evidence at the Oval.

With the series lost after India's mammoth first innings it didn't surprise me one little bit to see him contribute in both innings (before recklessly giving it away). In both innings he faced a high proportion of Tendulkar and an off colour Kumble, both of whom served up a lot of four balls.

In the second innings with men around that bat Bell saw an opportunity to make some quick runs to save face but in the context of the match they were meaningless. A couple of people of here have suggested his innings was the best batting of the summer after Vaughan's ton at TB but I think that's ludicrous. In fact I think it's ridiculous to the point of being offensive.

I'll be interested to see if we see the new positive Bell in the forthcoming one day series (if selected) and indeed in Sri Lanka when there's actually something to play for.
harry ba Psy.
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Old 14th August 2007, 21:42   #147
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isn't Ian Bell one area where there is a broad consensus on here? Nowt wrong with him technically and he's doing pretty well. He hasn't, however, found the top gear of his game yet (probably for mental reasons). If he carries on at this level he will have a good but not outstanding England career that will be at risk from the next young middle order player who breaks through. If he can break through his self-imposed glass ceiling then we could have something altogether different on our hands.
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Old 14th August 2007, 21:47   #148
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He should be looking, in my opinion, to become England's number 3 batsman. The only way he can do this is by scoring runs in that position, and getting in that position is quite likely in my opinion. He is perfectly capable of averaging in the mid to high 40s and that should be his target. He needs to improve his average in the second innings as well, as (before yesterday), he was averaging just 22.
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Old 14th August 2007, 21:54   #149
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Originally Posted by °Rey de España° View Post
Found this on 606, though MF might appreiciate it

http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/606/A25893651
I'm afraid that linking to that is in very poor taste, Rey.
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Old 14th August 2007, 22:00   #150
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He should be looking, in my opinion, to become England's number 3 batsman. The only way he can do this is by scoring runs in that position, and getting in that position is quite likely in my opinion.
I suspect he'll get another chance in that role on the Sri Lanka tour Joe, unless Strauss happens to make a mountain of runs of Middlesex between now and the end of the season. In fact even then it will probably be too little too late.
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Old 14th August 2007, 22:05   #151
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Yes, I believe so too, he's shown he can do it at 6, now he needs to show he can do it at 3.
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Old 14th August 2007, 22:08   #152
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I suspect he'll get another chance in that role on the Sri Lanka tour Joe, unless Strauss happens to make a mountain of runs of Middlesex between now and the end of the season. In fact even then it will probably be too little too late.
Perhaps this discussion belongs on a new thread about tour selection but I'm inclined to agree. Strauss is the more established player and actually averaged slightly better against India but several series of failure should see him being the man to make way for Flintoff. It's not the clearest cut decision ever and tour form may come into play but Bell really ought to keep his place ahead of Strauss. In fact, I'd drop Collingwood before Bell too, although that really would be a marginal call.
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Old 14th August 2007, 22:09   #153
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I'm more than a little puzzled by Bell's batting in the second innings. He was obviously in great touch and batted very well. The thing is that a blazing faster than a run a ball half century actually served England less well than a gritty 20 not out would have done. England could still just about have lost the game when Bell got out trying to sweep a full straight ball. Prior's much less impressive innings was more instrumental in saving the game. It's good to know that Bell can bat like that but this was a very strange time to show us. I don't buy the responsibility argument. Still, he's done enough to stay in the side, which is a relief to me because I really want him to succeed.
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Its easier to blast runs when the field are all in catching positions and the opposition aren't bothered about saving runs.

I hoped that that might be a breakthrough innings for Bell, the one which would give him the confidence to go out there and play his own game and play match changing innings. Then he got out.
*Sighs*

Why am I not surprised that when Bell played his best innings of the series, people are looking for ways to find fault with it? Yes, he got out on 67, as did Collingwood and Vaughan on 40s and KP on 100. They should all be shot. Bell got out with 4 overs and 4 balls to go and 4 wickets in hand. Not ideal but not exactly crisis time. Prior handled the situation very well and Sidebottom kept his head. If one or both of them had failed we also had Super Jim ready to save the game (don't worry that bit was meant to be a joke).

As to the innings itself, which FS finds so curious. I watched this innings and can assure you that Bell did not take any undue risks, until the iffy shot that got him out. The ball came on to the bat sweetly and he put it away. He did come down the wicket a lot from the moment he came to the crease but was playing with great confidence. He never looked as if he was going to do anything stupid. He has actually been in this kind of form since the beginning of the series but never managed to put a proper innings together. If only there had been a fourth match when he might have made that century.

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The thing is that a blazing faster than a run a ball half century actually served England less well than a gritty 20 not out would have done.


How do you work that out, then, FS? If he had patted each ball defensively and not taken a run, how would that have helped, exactly? Kumble would have been back to his mark quicker and they could have actually bowled more overs within the hour. Scoring boundaries wasted the fielders' time, increased the batsmen's confidence and the belief that the match could be saved.

Bell came out to bat with the idea of saving the game. He felt in good touch and so took the runs that were on offer. Even when batting to save a match you can't just occupy the crease. You don't turn down runs because you are meant to be playing a "gritty" innings. People have obviously been confused by Bell in this match. They think he can't score quickly, that he is a blocker (which he certainly isn't), and that he has somehow cheated by scoring at a run a ball when a match is in the balance. What Bell did was take it to the opposition. He kept scoring boundaries off Kumble and Kumble got progressively more annoyed and rattled. If KP had done this - like he did at the Oval 05 - everyone would have said he was a genius, as they said then. Of course Bell didn't get 158 like KP did, but there wasn't time to get a century anyway. (And no, I'm not calling Bell a genius).

There was one over where there was a misfield and the overthrow went for 4. The next ball didn't quite reach the boundary but Bell and Prior ran 4 anyway, and the third ball was a regulation boundary 4. 12 runs at no risk to Bell whatever but damaging to India's belief that they could win the match.

GBG says disparagingly that it is easy to blast runs when the opposition isn't interested in saving them. This is fair enough, but why would you turn them down if they are on offer and furthermore are making the bowler very annoyed? Dravid might not have been bothered about the runs but Kumble's pride was dented.

It saddens me that whatever Bell does it is never enough to please his many detractors. I can understand that there is some frustration that he got out before the end of the innings, even though there were only 4 and a bit overs left. What is upsetting is that the quality of his batting in getting to the 106th over is held against him as if it were a crime to bat well and then get out, rather than to hang around at the crease doing nothing special and then get out. Believe it or not you are just as likely to get out when simply occupying the crease as playing a few shots.

Bell played a delightful, stylish knock, passed 2000 runs in test cricket, achieved his highest score against India, and in the process overcame a tricky situation when Pietersen got out with 22 overs to go. (Where is the criticism of Pietersen for getting out when well set and with much more to do, btw?) He and Prior took England to the 106th over of 110 and was unhappily given out playing an ill-advised sweep shot. But this was the only false shot of the 62 balls he faced, and typically he was a gonner. No lucky escapes, no dropped catches, no risky hook shots, no farcical run-out scenarios. Just superb, controlled, clean hitting.

I give up.
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Old 14th August 2007, 22:14   #154
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Generally agree MF.
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Old 14th August 2007, 22:18   #155
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I'll admit to having mainly listened to Bell's innings rather than having seen it. I got home just in time to see him get out. Wasn't there at least one shot in the air through the cover region? I'd like to point out that I did comment on how well he'd batted and that it was nice to know that he could bat at that pace.

It's fairly easy to work out that a gritty 20 not out would have been better in terms of saving the game. The runs, your protestations to the contrary aside, were irrelevent to the game state. Yes, they may have demoralised the Indian side slightly, although if they did it shows a lack of understanding on the part of the Indian players. If, however, Bell had ground his innings out to the end of the game it would have left the Indian attack no chink of light. As it was, if Obliquearse had been out early on in his innings, India could have forced a win. Unlikely yes but not impossible.

I don't think you're right about scoring 4s slowing the bowling down and stopping the Indians bowling extra overs. There were always going to be 15 to come weren't there? As usual, the bowling side didn't get the overs in quickly enough to claim more than the usual daily allowance.

I think you're over-reacting, to be honest.
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Old 14th August 2007, 22:19   #156
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Well, I can assure you that such was the atmosphere in the crowd, by the end EVERYONE was extremely happy to see some good, punchy counter-attacking batsmanship. We ALL wanted Bell to continue hitting out. As I remarked, the sweep-shot was perhaps ill-advised, but the game was petering out into a draw, and realistically Bell had every right to keep on playing the aggressive game. He was timing it quite magnificently; why not make hay whilst in form? Not a single person thought at his dismissal that England would lose their last four wickets inside five overs.
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Old 14th August 2007, 22:22   #157
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Well, I can assure you that such was the atmosphere in the crowd, by the end EVERYONE was extremely happy to see some good, punchy counter-attacking batsmanship. We ALL wanted Bell to continue hitting out. As I remarked, the sweep-shot was perhaps ill-advised, but the game was petering out into a draw, and realistically Bell had every right to keep on playing the aggressive game. He was timing it quite magnificently; why not make hay whilst in form? Not a single person thought at his dismissal that England would lose their last four wickets inside five overs.
If he was listening, I expect SDC did. I'm not trying to say that it was likely that England would lose the game from when Bell was out, merely that in pure game state terms, his innings was less valuable than Prior's or a hypothetical 20* from 80 balls. In terms of its affect on his average and possibly his career, let alone in aesthetic terms obviously it was a very good innings. In terms of the match, it was still a very good innings, actually because it did contribute significantly to England saving the game. It just wasn't as good, in those narrow terms but rather important terms, as not being out would have been, irrespective of runs scored.
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Old 14th August 2007, 22:27   #158
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I thought I'd better cut and paste my assessment of Bell's performance from the match thread.
harry ba Psy.
I've been composing the post that now appears below, so have missed these. I did see this post on the match thread earlier when I wasn't in a position to reply and it makes me very annoyed to tell the truth. I think the post I have done just now covers most of it. When Bell doesn't score he is useless and when he does it is because he "has an appetite for easy runs".

May I just say something? I have just spent a very enjoyable five days at the test match. For the first time since his debut v. West Indies in 2004 I was able to see Bell score some runs at the Oval and was very pleased for him, although naturally I would have preferred him to get a century in the first innings and a not-out in the second. I have also enjoyed Jimmy's performance, his 4 wickets in the first innings (let's forget about the runs conceded!!), his brilliant fielding, his night-watchman heroics and his superb first spell in the second innings. It was sad that England couldn't level the series but we knew it wouldn't happen as soon as Vaughan lost the toss. However, the match itself was fascinating and I enjoyed every minute. I returned home in a cheerful mood but any good feelings I had were swiftly eradicated when I read the negative comments about Anderson and Bell. I have been tempted to follow Kiki and FBU in taking a sabbatical from this board for a while and may yet do so. Actually I am going on holiday next weekend so maybe I will get things into perspective.
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Old 14th August 2007, 22:29   #159
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If he was listening, I expect SDC did. I'm not trying to say that it was likely that England would lose the game from when Bell was out, merely that in pure game state terms, his innings was less valuable than Prior's or a hypothetical 20* from 80 balls. In terms of its affect on his average and possibly his career, let alone in aesthetic terms obviously it was a very good innings. In terms of the match, it was still a very good innings, actually because it did contribute significantly to England saving the game. It just wasn't as good, in those narrow terms but rather important terms, as not being out would have been, irrespective of runs scored.
Until his dismissal, Prior was the one who looked like getting out. If it weren't for Bell appearing so comfortable, so dominant at the other end, who knows, Prior may have done something rash. A good way to look at it would be as a situation where there was a lot to lose through negativity.
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Old 14th August 2007, 22:32   #160
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Well, I can assure you that such was the atmosphere in the crowd, by the end EVERYONE was extremely happy to see some good, punchy counter-attacking batsmanship. We ALL wanted Bell to continue hitting out. As I remarked, the sweep-shot was perhaps ill-advised, but the game was petering out into a draw, and realistically Bell had every right to keep on playing the aggressive game. He was timing it quite magnificently; why not make hay whilst in form? Not a single person thought at his dismissal that England would lose their last four wickets inside five overs.
I was in the Bedser stand close to the steps the batsmen come up. There was sustained applause for Bell right until he got into the dressing room. All of us appreciated the knock very much.
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