sport

Bell won't give up on England

Ian Bell has not written off England's hopes of keeping the Ashes series alive and believes they can still win the third Test in Perth.

Ben Stokes' maiden Test half-century ensured the contest would continue for at least one more day as England produced some last-ditch defiance in defence of the urn at the WACA to reach 251 for five at the end of day four.

After Alastair Cook was out for a golden duck and Kevin Pietersen holed out in the deep, England's chances of even delaying Australia into the last day of the third Test were improbable after being set a target of 504 to win.

Stokes (72 not out) and wicketkeeper Matt Prior (seven not out) will resume on Tuesday, and Bell still thinks they could do something historic for England against the odds.

"There are a few cracks on the wicket but apart from that it's a good surface. A bit of luck our way and you never know," Bell told Sky Sports 2.

"You do see a lot of pitches go like that. This has done a bit more than other pitches in Australia. If you get one that goes off the crack then fair play.

"He (Prior) is ready for a good fight and to scrap it out. That's just Matt. If Stokesy can stay with him we'll give it a good go tomorrow."

Bell acknowledged that England have not been up to the standard they would have hoped, but in turn hailed the Australia bowling attack.

"We have been put under a lot of pressure, the way Mitchell Johnson as come in aggressively with Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle backing him up," Bell said.

"Apart from day one in Brisbane where we bowled well we have been on the back foot. A lack of first innings runs has put us under a lot of pressure.

"They are bowling well as a unit and have a clear plan, as individual bowlers as well.

"I don't think we set the standard we usually do in the field. We let ourselves down a bit in the field but came back and showed a bit of fight with the bat."

However, despite the sorry state of England's Ashes defence, Stokes looks to be shaping up to be the find of the series for England.

Bell added: "He's fantastic. Since we've been here in the nets he's looked a quality batsman. He's been a real find for us.

"Going forward everything looks like he's going to have a great career for England."