Australia v England, 3rd Test, Perth, 4th day December 17, 2006

How Bell conquered Warne ... almost

Stats highlights from the fourth day's play at Perth

Where Shane Warne pitched it to Ian Bell (Enlarged image) © Hawak-Eye

Late wickets by the Australians allowed them to get back on top at Perth, but England had plenty of moments to savour, thanks to the knocks by Alastair Cook and Ian Bell. The most enthralling battle of the day was the one between Bell and Shane Warne, who had already dismissed him four times in Tests. In this innings, Bell tackled Warne quite superbly, using his feet, getting to the pitch of the ball, and scoring 50 from 59 balls off him. Warne, though, still had the last word, nailing him eventually for 87.

The pitch-map graphic from Warne to Bell shows the tactics used by the bowler, and how Bell negotiated that. Warne clearly attempted to pitch plenty of deliveries around or outside leg, and spin it across the face of the bat, but Bell was equal to the task through most of the day: he scored off deliveries which were well pitched up or wide outside leg. To deliveries pitched just outside leg, he defended. Bell also used his feet well to get to the pitch of the ball, which allowed him to score his runs well in front of the wicket.

Bell's wagon wheel against Warne (Enlarged image) © Hawak-Eye

Warne, though, finally got his man by inducing him to drive without getting to the pitch of the ball. The third graphic illustrates that perfectly: the white track shows the six that Bell hit off Warne in the 31st over, while the green one shows the delivery which dismissed him. The markers show where Bell was when he made contact with the ball - notice how close to the pitch he was when he hit the six.

Other stats from the day

170 - The partnership between Cook and Bell was England's highest second-wicket stand at Perth. The previous best was 95 between David Gower and Chris Tavare in November 1982.

How Warne finally got his man (Enlarged image) © Hawak-Eye

24.62 - Bell's average in 16 innings against Australia. Before the start of the 2006-07 Ashes, Bell averaged 17.10 against them. He's passed 50 on five occasions but hasn't been able to convert them into hundreds. Today's 87 was his highest score against Australia.

40 - Cook's strike-rate during his 116 off 290 balls is the second slowest for a fifty-plus score in the series. The slowest is Ian Bell's 50 off 162 balls at Brisbane.

21 years and 357 days - Cook's age when he scored his century. He is the second youngest England player to score a century in Australia, the youngest being Jack Hearne, who scored 114 at Melbourne in 1911-12 aged 20 years and 323 days

265 for 5 - England's effort is already the second-highest total in the fourth innings by a visiting team at Perth. They are currently behind South Africa who scored 287 for 5 to earn a draw in 2005.

S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo