Home > Features >

India vs England 2nd Test at Lord’s: Chance for Ian Bell to find form on his happy hunting ground

Ian Bell © Getty Images
Ian Bell is going through a lean patch © Getty Images

Since The Ashes 2013 played at home, Ian Bell has struggled to do well. Bharath Ramaraj wonders whether England’s best batsman can comeback to form against India in the second Test at his happy hunting ground, Lord’s.

Ever since Ian Bell made his Test debut against the West Indies at The Oval in 2004, it has been crystal clear that here was one batsman throbbing with heavy dollops of skill and talent. Despite touching celestial heights on occasions, he has struggled to achieve that stamp of permanence which you associate with a great batsman.

Last year in The Ashes 2013, Bell, with filigree craftsmanship and lissom grace took one’s breath away and compiled three hundreds. He played late cuts with glee, as Michael Clarke had a forlorn look on his face. In fact, when with his sublime mastery those caressed strokes whisked away past bemused fielders to the boundary boards, he seemed to be toying with the Australian setup. For a moment, it felt like he could even bat like batsmen of yore without those fancy accoutrements and still essay a century.

However, just like it has happened many times with Bell, since that series, he has struggled to get going. He has notched up just 397 runs at an average of 28.35. These aren’t figures of a player who is the best batsman in the team.

There is a feeling that with Kevin Pietersen being dumped and Alastair Cook in wretched form, Bell is struggling to lead from the front with the bat. Pietersen was for the most part of his career, England’s best player and opposition ranks targeted him.  Nowadays, opposition camps seem to be targeting Bell and Cook, as, if both of the senior pros don’t score runs, it puts more pressure on the younger lot.

Curiously, it isn’t like Bell has looked out of form. Yes, he has got out to the delivery that shapes into him and ‘dry length’ bowling a few times. It must be remembered that even during the early part of his career such tactics have been used against him.

This isn’t the first time that Bell has gone through a lean patch. After 2010 and 2011 turned out to be an annus mirabilis for him, Bell struggled for runs for a long period. Actually, when England toured United Arab Emirates (UAE) to play Pakistan in 2012, he couldn’t buy a run. However, he waded through that difficult period to comeback to rip-roaring form.

The silver lining for Bell is that he has aggregated 1,205 runs at an average of 57.38 and has made four centuries at Lord’s. It is also the ground, where England will meet India in the second Test.

The era of tall pacers running in from the pavilion end and using the famous slope at Lord’s to nip the ball back into a right-hander seems to be a thing of the past. If not anything else, India certainly don’t have a Curtly Ambrose or a Glenn McGrath to do that. Of course, Ishant Sharma can perhaps match them in height, but not in terms of class. So, this is a great chance for Ian Bell to play a knock glittered in diamond and find back his touch.

(Bharath Ramaraj, an MBA in marketing, eats, drinks and sleeps cricket. He has played at school and college-level, and now channelises his passion for the game by writing about it)

West Indies in South Africa, 2014-15

Dec 17, 2014 (14:00 IST)   at Centurion

India tour of Australia, 2014-15

Dec 17, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Woolloongabba, Brisbane

West Indies in South Africa, 2014-15

Dec 26, 2014 (14:00 IST)   at Port Elizabeth

Sri Lanka tour of New Zealand, 2014-15

Dec 26, 2014 (03:30 IST)   at Christchurch

India tour of Australia, 2014-15

Dec 26, 2014 (05:00 IST)   at Melbourne

More

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Dec 19, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

New Zealand won by 68 runs

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Dec 17, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

New Zealand won by 7 runs

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Dec 16, 2014  at Colombo

Sri Lanka won by 87 runs

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Dec 14, 2014  at Sharjah

Pakistan won by 147 runs

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Dec 13, 2014  at Pallekele

Sri Lanka won by 90 runs

Photos

India vs Australia, 2nd Test at Brisbane

Videos

Josh Hazlewood looks back at his 5-wicket haul

India vs Australia 2014-15, 2nd Test at Brisbane, Day 4: Shikhar Dhawan injured, India five down

Pakistan vs New Zealand, 5th ODI at Abu Dhabi: Key clashes

Live Cricket Score, South Africa vs West Indies,1st Test, Day 3 at Centurion: Samuels and Chanderpaul rebuild for West Indies

Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014, 5th ODI at Abu Dhabi Preview: Teams prepare for high-octane finale

Anil Kumble Australia India Ishant Sharma Moments in history Ravichandran Ashwin Ricky Ponting South Africa

India vs Australia, 2nd Test at Brisbane, Day 4: Josh Hazlewood dismisses MS Dhoni

India vs Australia, 2nd Test at Brisbane, Day 4: Mitchell Johnson dismisses Rohit Sharma

India vs Australia, 2nd Test at Brisbane, Day 4: Mithcell Johnson gets rid of Ajinkya Rahane

India vs Australia, 2nd Test at Brisbane, Day 4: Virat Kohli bowled by Mitchell Johnson

India vs Australia, 2nd Test at Brisbane, Day 4: Cheteshwar Pujara crosses 2,000 runs in Tests

New Zealand vs Pakistan, 5th ODI at Abu Dhabi: Marks out of 10 for Kiwis

India vs Australia, 2nd Test at Brisbane: India and tail

India vs Australia, 2nd Test at Brisbane: India’s tail ought to take leaf out of Australian tail’s book

India vs Australia 2nd Test at Brisbane, Day 3: India’s pathetic bowling performance, Mitchell Johnson’s onslaught and other highlights

India’s inability to dismiss Australia’s tail can have huge impact

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

653 Posts | 10 Fans

India vs Australia: Murali Vijay's 144, Video highlights

प्रसिद्ध कथक नृत्यांगना सितारा देवी नहीं रही

More broadband connections to boost GDP growth in Asia Pacific: GSMA

India is becoming our largest overseas market, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun says

Bigg Boss 8: Ali Quli Mirza, Renee Dhyani, Upen Patel, Praneet Bhatt, Sonali Raut – who should be evicted this week?

Revealed: The reason why Kishore Kumar’s biopic starring Ranbir Kapoor won’t feature Katrina Kaif!

अभिनेत्री प्रियंका चोपड़ा ने स्वच्छ भारत अभियान में हिस्सा लिया

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here