Australia v England, 2nd Test, Adelaide, 3rd day December 7, 2013

England performance 'not good enough' - Bell


Ian Bell could hardly hide his frustration after seeing his England team-mates deliver another batting performance of striking incompetence.

Bell was one of only three England players to reach double-figures as they were brushed aside for 172 in their first innings in Adelaide and afterwards admitted the performance was "just not good enough".

Bell finished unbeaten on 72, but could do little to stop England conceding a first-innings deficit of 398 runs. By the end of the day, Australia had extended their lead to 530 and have an excellent chance over the final two days of extending their series lead to 2-0 with three to play. England, whose top score in the series so far is 179, will probably have to bat for five sessions to save the game.

"We can't afford to be bowled out for under 200," Bell said. "You're not going to win anything like that. There are no excuses; it's just not good enough. It's another disappointing performance. There's no getting away from it, we haven't played very well. We've got to improve and improve fast."

While Bell played Mitchell Johnson with something approaching ease, his colleagues struggled. The fast bowler finished with figures of 7 for 40 with several England batsmen, especially in the lower order, looking far from comfortable when confronted with his hostility.

"When you're playing pace, you have to have serious courage," Bell said. "We have to make sure that's the first thing we have. When someone bowls at 150kph, you have to be switched on every ball. Am I scared? No, not at all scared. I can't speak for everyone, but no."

Despite the poor start to the series, Bell remained confident that the team were capable of saving the game and clawing their way back into the series. Earlier this year, England resisted for 143 overs in Auckland to save a Test against New Zealand and a year ago, they came from 1-0 down to defeat India in India.

"You've seen what this team has done in the past," he said. "These games are saveable but someone is going to have to play an incredible innings. If you want to bat for a day, this is the ground to do it.

"But what we've done in the last three innings isn't going to get us close. So someone - or probably two or three guys - have to step up. It's a challenge but that leads to opportunity and we have to take it."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Nathan on December 7, 2013, 22:53 GMT

    "You've seen what this team has done in the past," well I think this is the whole reason for the English decline. They keep propping themselves up on past glory. This is in contrast to Boof and the Australians talk where they were always talking about improvement.

    Credit to Bell though for a great innings from him. His batting was fantastic to watch. They should bat him at number 3 so that he has enough batting partners.

  • ANIL on December 7, 2013, 18:03 GMT

    England will apply themselves, this 2nd test will head for a draw.. Watch out for the top 5 and the tail doing it... OZ's will feel why they did not extend the follow-on, big mistake

  • Justin on December 7, 2013, 15:56 GMT

    Would be interesting to see how bell goes at 3. I think england just need to take that chance. They need to get 2 senior batsmen at the crease at the same time. Doesn't help with cook and kp out of sorts though. Bell made it look easy - but the curse of moving up the order to shore up a failing top order has destroyed the output of batsmen far better than Bell. Clarke was one of them, but now seems more settled at 4. Carbs looks a very good opener....but as was seen in the first innings of both tests, when others are falling around him and he's suddenly in the position of the "in" batsman with responsibility of driving the innings...he freezes up then gets out. In brissie he was on 49? for about an out...then here...4 straight maidens...out, set batsman gone.

  • Cameron on December 7, 2013, 15:05 GMT

    Look if Bell was up the order it would give England a chance. It's not impossible to save the match, there's even a few spots of rain forecast but England really need a win and that isn't going to happen, Clarke won't allow it. I suspect they will throw the bat for an hour, try to get a 600+ lead and then leave 5 and a half sessions for England to try and save the match. The way Mitch dispenses the tail so easily (from 6 down), it means some huge huge scores from the top order. Bell is still a scary proposition, he is the best batman in the side, he's in good nick and he's great to watch but it's not enough without some support. Australia have been so dominant, I don't believe even seasoned professionals could not have had their confidence destroyed.

  • Peter on December 7, 2013, 15:00 GMT

    Every man wants a Jonno tache! yes please! I am growing one at the mo

  • Peter on December 7, 2013, 14:59 GMT

    The English performance was "just not good enough" because the team is "just not good enough"...

  • Gopalakrishna on December 7, 2013, 14:33 GMT

    Trot J's vacuum is creating panic in England's camp. If he gave even slightest hint of he was not fit enough to play entire series he should not have been brought here. England should learn to make changes and depend on their backups if need be instead of persuading the same old failed players and policies. For long England depended on formulas, processes and methods. They never showed any spur of the moment and innovation and were boring even when they were winning. Now they are losing and giving entire world some kind of stick to beat them. By all standards this display of batting is substandard and has to improve. If not please be prepared for 2006-7 Ashes repeat.

  • Xiong on December 7, 2013, 14:24 GMT

    @Eat_sleep_play_cricket Actually there were quite a few English innings' that were saved by Bell, and only Bell, in the last Ashes series. I was truly shocked and appalled that Bell didn't bat at 3. I'm an Australian and I support my team, but I wanted to see a contest. As soon as Joe Root walked out after Cook was clean bowled my heart sank.

    Imagine if Bell did bat at 3, and Carberry makes 60. Bell probably scores 80-100 in that time (as opposed to Root scoring 15 off 80), given that he has a much wider scope for scoring runs and is simply a better batsman than Carberry, as well as taking the pressure off him. Suddenly England are 1/150+, with KP walking out next. Who cares if the batting order is Root, Stokes, Prior in a row further down the order.

    Bell literally gets 1 proper batting partner with the first innings order, in this case it was Carberry. As soon as Warner took that gem of a catch the writing was on the wall.

  • Inam on December 7, 2013, 14:20 GMT

    if Cook din't play like he usually does England could loose 5-0, the tail is too long, if top order dont' do good the last 5 wickets dont even give you 50 runs, after Trott departure England does not look same again. Key players are out of form and Swann has been handled very well by Aussies, Johnson is bowling well but many wickets were given away by England to poor shots KP played a horrible shot when two men placed there and he fall for it. to be bundled for 172 on this pitch is simply not good enough by any standard. Aussies can feel the Ashes coming to them. This is the best pitch England would get on this tour and they did so bad, the signs are not good For England.

  • Manjunath on December 7, 2013, 13:49 GMT

    England in last few months felt like can do no wrong, Their batters scored at ease and bowlers got wickets at will..Fast forward today their batters hardly score 200 and bowlers conceive 400+. On the other hand, Australia lost 4-0 to india when their batters could hardly cross 200 and bowlers gave away 400+ runs every match seem like the world beaters again. Truth is, both teams next to ordinary outside their country and comfort zone.

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