sport

Bell looks to repeat Rajkot form

Ian Bell wants England to revert to the principles that saw them take a surprise lead in the one-day series against India.

The tourists have had the stuffing knocked out of them in the last two matches, going down by 127 runs and then seven wickets with India hitting a purple patch.

The prime problem for England has been the batting, with totals of 158 and 155 contributing to the resounding nature of the defeats.

But while England would be forgiven for thinking the five-match series is drifting away from them, Bell is keen to remind his team-mates that they have already proved themselves on this trip.

The opener in Rajkot saw Bell and Alastair Cook lay the foundations for a much more impressive total of 325 as England claimed their first one-day success in India since 2006.

It is win or bust in match four in Mohali on Wednesday and Bell hopes for a repeat of that early success.

"Hopefully we have the opportunity to put in a performance like we did in the first ODI and take it to 2-2," said Bell.

"We went into that first match after losing two warm-ups but we put in a performance. We have to keep believing we can win and we've shown we can do that.

"We have to get our basics right and we have to perform. There's no doubt we set a platform in the first match. If we get a platform, our middle order is very powerful and destructive.

"But we need a foundation for our big hitters in the middle to get us going.

"We've shown we can do it in the first ODI. But maybe we didn't adapt well enough to conditions since, certainly in the last game."

As proved in that first match, the opening partnership between Bell and Cook is pivotal to the side's prospects.

Their stand of 158 in Rajkot was England's highest first-wicket stand in India and paved the way for a more care-free approach as the innings progressed.

Since then, India's rookie seamers - Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Shami Ahmed - have prospered, making swift inroads to heap the pressure on England's middle-order stroke-makers.

Reflecting on the importance of that early head to head, Bell said: "Their opening bowlers are very good. They have plenty of skills and swing the ball both ways.

"They have made us work really hard. But we need to get runs on the board and get a senior batsman batting for the majority of the overs. We haven't done that in the last two and if we do that we can push India.

"In the final two games we need to get into a position to hurt India at the back end of the innings."

One factor that could help England get back on track and take the series into a decider is the weather in Mohali.

The drop in temperature from the first three matches is noticeable and there is even some suggestion that the pitch could provide reasonable assistance for the quicker bowlers.

"It's been very nice here, very English really," said Bell.

"It's a little bit more familiar than the last couple of games and obviously that's nice.

"I don't think the weather has had any effect on the way we've played, but it's nice to get out there and have a bit of breath. I'm sure that helps everyone."