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Bell: 'Batsmen owe excellent bowlers'

Ian Bell says England’s batsmen owe it to their bowling teammates to produce the goods in the third and final Test against Pakistan in Dubai.

The dead-rubber gets underway on Friday 3 February, when England will be playing for pride – and to protect their no.1 Test ranking – after two dismal defeats.

Their capitulation to 72 all-out in the second innings in Abu Dhabi marked a low point for the side under the otherwise successful leadership of Andrew Strauss.

Bell, who is expected to be fit for the final match despite suffering a stomach upset, said the batsmen were determined to bounce back.

“We are preparing and training as hard as possible to make sure we get it right in the third Test,” he said.

England’s top six, in particular Bell, Eoin Morgan, Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Strauss, have looked all at sea against the world-class spin of Saeed Ajmal and Abdur Rehman.

Bell admitted that England came down to earth with a thump after a brilliant couple of years, but insisted they were focused on conquering their immediate challenges.

“We all know we haven't played good enough cricket here and we would be stupid just to carry on what we're doing, added the 29-year-old.

“There's no point in looking back and saying how great we were against Australia or how great we were against India. It is about now and the next challenges.

“We have a lot of cricket in the subcontinent and we have to get better; individually and as a unit. We can't keep looking back and patting ourselves on the back - that's all gone.”


While the batsmen have floundered, England’s bowlers have been superb against batsmen highly skilled in the conditions encountered in the UAE.

Stuart Broad and James Anderson have spearheaded the attack magnificently, while Monty Panesar returned to Test cricket triumphantly with seven wickets in Abu Dhabi.

Bell added: “The bowlers have been fantastic and now it's up to the batting unit to give them some support.”

Meanwhile, Anderson, currently ranked number three in the ICC Test rankings, defended the batsmen, who have come under fire from those in the press since the Abu Dhabi defeat.

He said: “The batsmen have been fantastic for us in the last couple of years and we have every faith in them that they'll come back strong.”

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