One of the most prolific batsmen to have played for England, Ian Bell celebrates his 38th birthday on Saturday (April 11, 2020). Hailing from Warwickshire, the right-handed batsman is a sweet timer of the ball and his record in international cricket is sensational too. Courtesy his impeccable technique, Bell has toiled many prominent bowling line ups and has scored runs all around the world. Below, we'll revisit the times when the right-handed batsman defined the match with his willow. Ian Bell Tweaks #ToiletRollChallenge Rules, Hits Exquisite Cover Drive off Full Toss (Watch Video).
Making his international debut in August 2004, Bell was a vital cog in England's batting line-up for over a decade. In his illustrious career, Bell featured in 118 Test matches in which he amassed 7727 runs with the help of 22 centuries. In ODIs, the right-handed batsman scored 5416 runs from 150 matches. To date, he is also the third-highest run for England in One-Day International cricket. These numbers are sensational from any standards and also speak volumes of Bell's ability. Meanwhile, let's have a look at some of his best knocks in the longest format of the game.
140 Against South Africa in Durban
Facing the likes of Makhaya Ntini, Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn in their own backyard is certainly one of the last things a batsman would wish for. However, Bell rose to the challenge in the 2nd Test of England's 2009-10 tour of South Africa. Coming to bat at six in the second innings, the talismanic put up a stupendous batting performance and scored a sensational ton. His innings of 140 helped the visitors post 574 runs. The star-studded Proteas side failed to make a comeback and lost the game by an innings and 98 runs.
235 Against India in Oval
Bell enjoyed a sensational run when India toured England in 2011. However, his best knock came in the fourth and the last Test of the series. Coming to bat at number three, Bell looked in fine touch and started off his innings in a positive way. No Indian bowler seemed like troubling the batsman and hence, Bell gathered runs with ease. He breached the three-figure mark. However, his appetite for runs only seemed to be increasing. As a result, he went on to register his maiden double century in Test cricket. His efforts proved to be fruitful as the home side posted 591 runs in the first innings and later, won the match by an innings and eight runs.
109 Against Australia in Lord's
England's top-order got rattled during the 2nd Test of 2013 Ashes series. However, Bell wasn't ready to put his guards down and he rescued his side in style. The right-handed batsman brilliantly tackled the thunderbolts of Aussie pacers and made a steady start to his innings. He gave full respect to the good deliveries along with smashing the bad one for runs. He eventually went on to register his 19th Test ton and guided his side to 361 runs in the first innings. In the third innings of the game, Bell again showcased his masterclass and scored 74 runs. Michael Clarke and Co weren't able to nullify Bell's efforts as England eventually won the match by 347 runs.
113 Against Australia in Chester-le-Street
Lord's wasn't the only venue where Bell showcased his brilliance in the 2013 Ashes series. England were bowled out for 238 while opting to bat and were trailing by 32 runs in the first innings. However, Bell came good in the third innings of the game and defined the encounter. On a tough-looking pitch, the talismanic batsman played an innings of high authority and impressed one and all. He went to register s memorable ton and his resilience guided the home side to 330 runs. While chasing a total of 299 runs, Aussies were packed for 224 and lost the game by 74 runs.
143 Against West Indies in Antigua
Another Ian Bell special was witnessed during the 1st Test of England's 2015 Tour of West Indies. The visiting side was tottering at 34/3 in the first innings and the Caribbeans were all over the game. However, Bell came to spoil the Dinesh Ramdin and Co's party. The right-handed batsman looked rock solid against the swinging deliveries of Caribbean pacers and brought his side back on track. He built significant partnerships with Joe Root and Ben Stokes for the fourth and fifth wicket respectively. He also went on to pile up his 22nd Test ton, helping his side post 399 runs. However, the home side made a comeback with the bat and the match resulted in a draw.
Bell might not be a part of current England set-up as he played his last international match way back in 2015. However, no fact can still defy the veteran's contribution to his side and he will certainly go down as an unsung hero of England cricket.