Former England batter Ian Bell who was a key part of the English team under Alastair Cook’s captaincy which became the last foreign team to clinch a red-ball series win in India, suggested that someone from Ben Stokes’ side must score a big hundred to push the hosts in backfoot in the on-going 5-match Test series, which is currently on level terms at 1-1.

Ian Bell stated that England have done quite well in the Test series until now, claiming the visitors have thrown a couple of strong initial punches to push India back and they must look to continue doing so as the series proceeds. The 3rd Test which will start in 2 days, is set to take place at the Saurashtra cricket stadium in Rajkot from 15 February onwards.

Bell himself has a century to his name on Indian soil during the 2012 tour when England claimed a series win by 2-1. The 41-year-old scored an unbeaten 116* during the last Test in Nagpur. In total, he has 1343 runs at an average of 42 across 20 Test matches against India including 4 centuries as well as half-centuries.

In India, he amassed a total of 352 runs in 8 Tests with a century and fifty each from tours in 2006, 2008, and 2012. While speaking on Sky Sports Cricket on the build-up of the 3rd Rajkot Test, Ian Bell targeted the Indian media for assuming that England will be losing the series by 5-0 but claimed that in actuality it’s India who are currently under pressure.

“I suppose the Indian media was very confident that it was going to be 5-0 before the series started. No doubt that this India team is worried about this England side, which is great. I think England have thrown some real punches to push India back.” – Ian Bell told Sky Sports Cricket.

The former top and middle order batter would then state that someone from the English team will have to replicate what Ollie Pope did in the 1st Test by scoring 196 runs and paving the way for the Three Lions to claim victory in the 1st Test.

“It’s going to come down to again, someone like Ollie Pope did in that first game to get a big hundred, that’s really important to really put yourself in the game, but they look threatening.” – Bell added. 

“There Will Be Doubt”, Ian Bell Opines On Indian Batting Order

Ian Bell who retired from the international scene 8 years ago in 2015, feels that the Indian batting line-up has some very talented and able players who are capable of turning a match into its head but he raised doubts over their performance, claiming that they are under a lot more pressure than the visitors.

“I think the Indian lineup has got amazing amount of talent, but again, there will be doubt there. Not that they don’t have the talent and ability, but I feel there will a bit more pressure at the moment on India. Let’s hope so. But it’s in the balance right now. But I think if someone can do what Ollie Pope did in the first Test, we can put pressure on India.” – Ian Bell concluded. 

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