The Investec Ashes 2013 July 15, 2013

Tension? We sat around eating Cornettos

I was delighted to play such a key role in a memorable victory and although the Trent Bridge Test became very tight, we were all very calm during the lunch break
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When I come to look back on my career, the Trent Bridge Test of 2013 will always rate as a highlight. To play a match-defining innings with the team under pressure, against a demanding attack, and the fact that it helped us win the game makes it very special. I accept it was probably the best innings of my Test career to this point.

I owed the team those runs. I've felt in good form all year, but I haven't had the scores to show for it, and I had a relatively disappointing year in 2012. I was flying in 2010 and 2011, but then I had a long layoff ahead of going to the UAE and struggled against Saeed Ajmal, who is right up there among the toughest bowlers I've faced. Maybe I lost a bit of confidence as a result and it has taken a while to rediscover my best form.

It's not as if I felt I had anything to prove. Maybe if I had not enjoyed a good series in Australia in 2010-11, I might have felt that way. But I've had good innings before. I scored a century against India at Trent Bridge a couple of years ago which helped set up a victory, and I've helped us fight for draws in Cape Town and Auckland. But whatever the merits of other series, for anyone in England or Australia, the Ashes is always the biggest series you play, so to contribute to a victory is a special feeling. It's definitely the most important innings I've played in an Ashes match.

As a game it was up there with Edgbaston 2005 for drama. There were so many momentum swings; so much drama. From a personal perspective, it's more satisfying to have played a large part in this result. When you look back on your career, you want to know you've scored your runs in the biggest games, under the most pressure. I did that at Trent Bridge.

I was at the other end when Stuart Broad survived that appeal. I honestly didn't know he had hit it, and I've always thought Aleem Dar is an exceptional umpire. At the time I put the Australian reaction down to frustration.

Broad didn't mention the edge and I didn't know about it until I saw a replay back in the dressing room. The fact is that almost no batsmen in world cricket walk. It's within everyone's right to wait for the umpire's decision, and we have seen the batsmen of both sides do that in this game. I can't see it causing any lingering problem between the teams.

You honestly don't always know when you've edged it. I didn't feel anything when I was out. I heard a nick, but I didn't feel anything, and it was the same for Joe Root when he was caught down the leg side. He heard something, but didn't feel it and, had he reviewed, he may well have been successful. There was no sign of an edge on Hot Spot.

Broad didn't mention the edge and I didn't know about it until I saw a replay back in the dressing room. The fact is that almost no batsmen in world cricket walk

The Australian bowlers all like to have a chat - that's a polite way of putting it - but at this stage of my career, I barely even notice. Maybe when I was younger, I wasn't prepared for it, but now it just washes over me. I never respond. The whole purpose is to make you lose concentration, so if you allow yourself to become distracted by it, you're letting it affect your game.

We have a great bowler of our own these days. Jimmy Anderson's career record might not show it - that can happen if you start your career early and learn your trade at the highest level - but he is well on his way to establishing himself as a great bowler.

We've known for a few years that he was a match-winner in typical green, English conditions, but he has proved he is on dry, subcontinent-style pitches where he gains reverse swing, too. I really can't remember the last time he bowled badly with a red ball. He instills a sense of calm among the other bowlers and with his skill and fitness is a huge asset to us. I'm glad he's on my team; I wouldn't want to be facing him at this stage of his career.

It was pleasing to see how well he was supported in the field. Even in those last few minutes, Jonny Bairstow and I pulled off a couple of diving saves in the field that ensured we kept the batsmen under pressure. We made them fight for every run, and in the end the pressure told.

We were amazingly calm. It can get very tense in those situations, but after lunch on the final day, most of us sat around eating Cornettos before going out for that final session.

Teams tend to work on remaining calm on the pitch, and in a way that is easier, as you have your job to do and you can lose yourself by concentrating on that. But it's in the dressing room where things can become tense, and if that environment is wrong, other things fall apart. We were excellent in that respect at Trent Bridge.

That bodes very well for us for the rest of the series. We know we're going to be tested again and again, but we're proved we can withstand that and come through it as the winning side.

Ian Bell was speaking to George Dobell

A fixture in England's middle order for almost a decade, Ian Bell has played in three Ashes-winning sides

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • emmersonne on July 17, 2013, 15:51 GMT

    Let us not forget that in 2009 Australia scored more runs and took more wickets with better averages than England and lost 2-1. In 2005 Australia were, on paper, a superior team (one of the best bowlers ever had to tread on a cricket ball to even things up) and lost 2-1. Being "the better" side doesn't guarantee you anything.

  • Hammond on July 17, 2013, 10:21 GMT

    @Dashgar- I think you made that up son. Len Huttons 1953 ashes side, Percy Chapmans 1928 side or Illingworths 1971 side are all superior to this current England side. I will agree with you on one point though. This is probably the worst Australian side I have ever seen.

  • H_Z_O on July 16, 2013, 17:30 GMT

    @jackiethepen it was a fairly obvious nick (off the face), but I agree that the idea it went straight to slip is complete nonsense that's been fabricated by people who didn't see the incident or are choosing to exaggerate it for their own agenda.

    I thought he'd edged it right away, I thought it was pretty clear, but I also saw the deflection off Haddin's gloves. Still think a top umpire needs to see that, but I also suspect Dar himself feels he should have seen it. I also wonder if in future umpires in that situation will err on the side of the team without reviews and force the one with reviews to use one if the decision is wrong. After all, the goal is more correct decisions.

    Broad knew he'd hit it as it came off the face, Dar probably should have known, but I don't expect Bell, trying to back up properly, to be watching the other end intently for the slightest nick. That's an impossibly high bar to set for the non-striker.

  • Speng on July 16, 2013, 14:41 GMT

    Bell's century is huge for England because he's looked good scoring 20s and 30s in the last few tests so it's great to see him cash in on form. The batsman I'd really like to see fire in tests is Trott as he certainly has some humongous scores bottled up in him as form is draining out his ears at the moment and hopefully he can cash in on it before it runs out. If England are to win this series as big as most pundits thought before the series their top 7 will need to pile on the runs as I don't think the bowling lineup is that much better than Australia's

  • jackiethepen on July 16, 2013, 14:31 GMT

    The problem is, kitten, Broad did nick it to the keeper. You have to check your facts before you express moral outrage. He did not nick it to slips. I have videoed the innings. It went like this. Broad nicked it to the keeper. Bell may not have heard that nick. There was a lot of noise in the ground at the time. The keeper failed to collect it. He might have dropped it but it cannoned off his gloves into the slips. Now that is the trajectory which indicates a thick edge. But the umpire and Bell both knew that the ball had gone to the keeper. I feel sorry for Dar. It might have helped if there had been more careful initial analysis from the commentators. What's worrying is that so many reporters/ commentators seem to have it in for Broad. So much so that they jumped to the wrong conclusion. This still hasn't been put right. You still read about the outrage of a thick edge. It isn't fair to either Broad and Dar. It's almost as though the media prefer the controversy to the truth.

  • Dashgar on July 16, 2013, 13:44 GMT

    @Hammond, in 2011 Nasser Hussain, Bob Willis, Angus Fraser, David Lloyd, Paul Allott and Laurence Booth all said this English side was the best they had ever seen. They can't say any more than than that. Only Root and Bairstow have been added since then. And you're right, Australia's tail wagged, twice. This is because it's an excellent tail. All four bowlers would be number 8 in most test sides. If anything the anomaly was the lack of runs from Clarke. If he fires then Australia could dominate this series.

  • Hammond on July 16, 2013, 12:07 GMT

    @electric_loco_WAP4 "better players the likes of Steve Smith ,Cowan,Hughes and Rogers of Aus on same good conditions" right. So generous of you to praise Stuart Broad like that, but he is probably a better batsman than any you have mentioned. As for anyone higher up the English order, dream on son.

  • Hammond on July 16, 2013, 12:02 GMT

    @Dashgar- how is this "considered England's best team ever"? I don't think anyone in English cricket would be even close to saying that.. My point is Australia broke numerous all time test records in this test and still lost. What will happen when England get out of second gear and Australia stop breaking test records? I think Australia 9/117 is going to be a lot more common in the 7 months.

  • Dashgar on July 16, 2013, 11:26 GMT

    I find it interesting, this is sometimes considered England's best team ever. This is also considered Australia's worst team ever. So the fact is that England's best ever is 14 runs better than Australia's worst ever. Enjoy the Cornetto's Bell.

  • shane-oh on July 16, 2013, 11:20 GMT

    @electric_loco_WAP4 - ermmm, I think you need to prise that other eye open, my Aussie friend.

    In general, as a NZ fan, I've always found it strange that a man with 18 hundreds and an average of nearly 46 never seems to get a lot of respect from the English fans and media. And it isn't because such numbers are unheard of in the team I support - Bell has an incredible record, and will end his career close to the top of English century makers. It's always been a hard one to understand.

    This is a very strong English test team, respect where it is due, and they were always going to be too good for Australia - although not as too good as the media here (in England) would have us believe.