‘I’ll put my hand up’ to come in at number three, says Ian Bell

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“We’ve spoken about it, and obviously I’ve said I’m absolutely willing to go to No 3”

England batsman Ian Bell has announced that “I’ll put my hand up” to come in at number three after the spot was vacated by Jonathan Trott when he returned home with a stress-related illness.

Bell is also confident that he can make more of an impact higher up the order.

“We’ve spoken about it, and obviously I’ve said I’m absolutely willing to go to No 3,” he said. “That decision is probably out of my control – we’ve got a number of options – but absolutely I’ll put my hand up. We’ll soon see.”

Bell also dismissed suggestions that Alice Springs was an awkward place to prepare for the second Ashes Test in Adelaide.

“We’ve had the opportunity to regroup as team,” he said. “It feels like you’re away from the major Test-playing places in this country.

“It’s given us the opportunity to spend a good bit of time together and talk about it a little bit. We’ve got a few of the younger guys on the field and we’re ready to go to Adelaide now.”

Bell, who was the stand-in captain for England’s two-day warm-up match against the Cricket Australia Chairman’s XI, praised Zimbabwean-born batsman Gary Ballance for his brilliant half-century.

“Gary Ballance has done really well, batting for a long period on a wicket that was not easy to score runs fluently,” Bell said. “We want guys who are going to bat long periods of time in this series, so he showed some good character.”

Bell also had some kind words for spinner Monty Panesar, who took three wickets.

“It’s not easy coming on tour when you’ve not played a lot of cricket,” Bell said. “I’m sure he’ll be a bit sore, but he bowled really well.

“It was nice to see him settle into a rhythm very quickly and it is a possibility he could play (in Adelaide) – we’ve got that flexibility if we need two spinners.”

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