sport

Bell: England are grounded

Batsman Ian Bell insists England remain grounded ahead of the fourth Test at Old Trafford.

Alastair Cook's side have the chance to take a 2-1 lead in the five-game series after a superb 266-run victory at Southampton last week.

England noticably improved with the bat, with Bell top-scorer on 167 as they declared at 567-7 in the first innings.

But the Warwickshire number four says they will not be complacent and must repeat those levels of hard work.

"It was a good five days for us and it's nice to reflect on that but it's just the start for pushing along in the series," he told Sky Sports.

"It's been a difficult 12 months, there's been a lot of hard work going on behind the scenes, and it was good to put a Test together exactly how we wanted.

"It would be nice to start again here at Old Trafford in the same way. We will talk about the game now in the meeting, hopefully have a few good days of preparation and hit the ground running on day one.

"It's feet on the ground time. We had a good five days but that's all. We have to start all over again and do the hard work all over again.

"We know what's ahead of us - India are a quality side. We have to do well on Thursday and then have five more good days and back up that good performance at Southampton. We're all excited about that challenge again."

Bell returned to sublime form with his 21st Test 100, while newcomer Gary Ballance bagged a third Test century of his inaugural summer.

"As a top order player you're always looking for that big score. As a batting unit we want to set up games for the bowlers to win Test matches," said Bell.

"It couldn't have gone better for us as a batting unit at Southampton. To get to 567 declared, instead of 400-odd and using our bowlers to get over the line, was a nice way to do it.

"We batted with intent in the second innings, but also giving the bowlers the opportunity to get 20 wickets is our job and the bowlers did exactly what they do on regular basis."

And Bell believes paceman Jimmy Anderson will again have a huge bearing on the outcome of the Test after being cleared to face India following his altercation with all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja at Trent Bridge.

The ICC has until Sunday to appeal the ruling but Bell insists the verdict will not affect his performance on his home ground.

"Jimmy has done so well over the last couple of games to put that episode behind him and focus on his cricket," he said.

"His man of the match performance at Southampton was a great way to show he can deal with that and I'd expect him to do exactly the same thing here at Old Trafford."