2015 Test Century Watch #9 – Ian Bell

Ian Ronald Bell


The return of the series started on HDWLIA, which we left with Virat Kohli’s 147 in SCG.

Our last visit in 2009 saw Bell dropped after a dismal shot in Jamaica. Now he completes his first century in the Caribbean, his 22nd in all, and his second against the West Indies (his other being an unbeaten 109 at Lord’s in 2007). This is the 7th test century to be made at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, and the first by someone other than an Aussie or a WIndies man. He is the 45th different player to make a test century in Antigua (Lara has a few), and this is the 64th test century made on the island. The highest score by an England player is 175 by Robin Smith in Brian Lara’s 375 game in 1994.

Other England players to make test tons at the old ground were Andrew Strauss (169), Michael Vaughan (140), Mike Atherton (135), Paul Collingwood (113), Geoff Boycott (104*), Andrew Flintoff (102*) and Peter Willey (102*).

Ian Bell’s hundred came up in 194 balls and contained 15 4s and 1 six.


34 thoughts on “2015 Test Century Watch #9 – Ian Bell

  1. Tuffers86 Apr 13, 2015 / 8:27 pm

    A welcome return Lord.


    • LordCanisLupus Apr 13, 2015 / 8:29 pm

      Selvey has 191 balls, but I’m going with cricinfo and the display on the screen.

      I know that a few people liked the old statto stuff….


  2. SimonH Apr 13, 2015 / 8:40 pm

    Curiously Bell’s wagon-wheel shows that he hasn’t scored a run through mid-off.


    • Vian Apr 14, 2015 / 9:30 am

      It’s a very slow pitch and not conducive to driving. In fact I’d say Bell has become an absolute master of playing on slow pitches. Just like in England 2013, he puts the drives away and scores down in the third man region. The Bell of the past might be get caught at cover, but now he plays on these surfaces with absolute control.


      • SimonH Apr 14, 2015 / 10:12 am

        Bell’s innings particularly reminded me of TB in 2013. Yesterday, from Cricinfo’s wagon wheel, he scored 56 runs behind square on the off-side (and none through mid-off) – at TB he scored 49 runs in the same place (and none through mid-off).

        Well as he played, and of course the Bell cut shot is an especially dreamy creation, it also reflects on the West Indies bowling and captaincy. They either needed to bowl fuller and tighter on off-stump or, if they thought they could get Bell caught (and one or two went in the air), they needed to pack the field there. As it was, I thought the West Indies did neither one thing nor the other.


      • Vian Apr 14, 2015 / 11:29 am

        Yes, good call, it was very similar.


  3. Mark Apr 13, 2015 / 8:52 pm

    It would appear that Graves comments had no effect on Bell. Selvey will have to come up with a better excuse next time.

    Delighted for Bell, and to think a certain person at the Mail was leaking against him last year. Shocking!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Arron Wright Apr 13, 2015 / 9:37 pm

    After Bell, Root and Stokes make big runs, only Alastair Cook could ruin the mood by ensuring that day two starts with bloody Tredwell at the crease.


    • Arron Wright Apr 13, 2015 / 9:41 pm

      Can I also remind people that the ultra-defensive use of a nightwatchman was a major reason why England lost their last series in the Caribbean. Particularly at St. John’s, when Strauss sent Anderson in with a lead of 304 and nine second innings wickets in hand. West Indies ended the match nine down in the fourth innings…


      Liked by 1 person

      • Arron Wright Apr 13, 2015 / 9:42 pm

        Jesus wept…

        Liked by 1 person

      • dvyk Apr 14, 2015 / 6:30 am

        Actually, I recall reading that Flower asked Bell whether or not he wanted a nightwatchman, and Bell said yes, unsurprisingly, but not exactly selflessly. The problem was that no one had explained the role to Anderson (when he was 15 years old in club cricket) and he also wasn’t smart enough to realise the next day that actually his role was done, and poking around for an hour was not going to win them the game.


      • Arron Wright Apr 14, 2015 / 12:07 pm

        Jokes tend to work better when you don’t feel the need to tell them twice:


    • Arron Wright Apr 14, 2015 / 7:42 am

      TBH, Strauss delaying the declaration was worse. One of those times where Botham was spot on (I think he still talks about that match).


    • Vian Apr 14, 2015 / 9:32 am

      They do ask the next man in if he wants one or not. It’s hardly surprising Buttler didn’t want to go in for an over.


      • Tom Apr 14, 2015 / 10:59 am

        This is an interesting point. Apologies for talking actual cricket tactics, but would love to see some opinions.

        Firstly, in my mind, it’s the captain who should decide who is the night watchman, but can appreciate the appointee might have an opinion.

        In this particular case though, the night watchman would go in as the non-striker in the last over of the day. In that case, why not send in a complete bunny? If they end up on strike and get out, they’ve still done their job as the day’s play ends when that wicket falls (unless the laws have changed) and the next batsman won’t have to face a ball that evening. That’s the point of a night watchman, isn’t it?

        Or maybe Tredwell is considered a bunny, but that conflicts with someone’s idea that he’s higher in the batting order than Buttler due to his average? I’m confused.


      • Arron Wright Apr 14, 2015 / 11:31 am

        Buttler averages 66.67 in three matches, Tredwell 37 from one innings.


        I just find England’s use of the NW, and what it betrays about their post-Vaughan mindset, consistently excruciating. This one was especially ludicrous because they’ve scored 170 in a session and, if Stokes has any sense at all, Buttler wouldn’t have needed to face a ball until the morning.

        They can have a couple of sessions like that and yet still make themselves so hard to love.


      • Vian Apr 14, 2015 / 11:32 am

        The plan was for Stokes to get off strike and leave Tredwell to take the over – you could see that by the way he was backing up. As it turned out, it was such an innocuous over that Stokes just left most of it.

        I don’t mind it as long as the instruction is then for the nightwatchmen to get on with it the next day. It doesn’t make any difference to much then. It’s if they hang around for an hour stinking up the place that it becomes a problem.


        • LordCanisLupus Apr 14, 2015 / 11:42 am

          The new ball isn’t that old so a few overs blocking is fine. Can’t get too bothered.

          As for the borderline idolatry for Bell. Sure, a fine innings and a fine player, but people do go over the top. Big hundreds. Big big hundreds. He’s so capable but he just annoys me no end. With that technique and skill that average should be in the 50s.

          I’d better stop before people call me miserable.


      • Arron Wright Apr 14, 2015 / 11:53 am

        LCL, you can relax: no-one will ever beat Duncan Fletcher’s “why did you only make 199, Belly?” column after the Lord’s Test of 2008. Or indeed that pranny engaging with Peter Miller on Twitter yesterday.


      • Vian Apr 14, 2015 / 11:57 am

        Dmitri, you raise something that is another of my little bugbears. Bell, along with all players who are “pretty” makes it look so easy when he’s in form that people get on his back when he gets out and say he should be doing much better than he is – i.e. that his average should be higher.

        Now this has been said about every single such player, whether it be Dexter, Gower, M Waugh, VVS Laxman or anyone else you care to name. It’s being sucked in by the manner in which they bat.

        Bell averages mid forties (like the others interestingly) because that’s how good he is. He’s a fine Test player, but he’s not truly top class, no matter how pleasing on the eye he is.

        Accept him for that and enjoy him. Just because a player looks good doesn’t mean that you can directly correlate that with how good he actually is. A less aesthetic player who scores more runs is a better player. Simple as that.


      • @pktroll Apr 14, 2015 / 12:00 pm

        Even if I agree that the idolatry for Bell is over the top, given both the state of the pitch and the moderate opposition (I like Roach but unfortunately he’s a bit of a sick note) it is harsh to blame him for actually getting a pretty good ball just before close.

        Bell actually isn’t quite as technically perfect as is claimed, his bat opens the face a little too much on impact at times. That is why top class seamers tended to account for him when he was a number 3. I will also point out that his record in Asia v spin, excluding Bangladesh is poor. A good player no doubt, but some distance off being a great.


  5. hatmallet Apr 13, 2015 / 9:48 pm

    I don’t mind using a night watch man, but a non striker with one over to go?


  6. wrongunatlongon Apr 13, 2015 / 9:56 pm

    I never realised Bell was a Villa fan. As a chap who has, well, not as many Bluenoses in the family to support BCFC, but comfortably enough to detest the vile, this is truly beyond the pale.


  7. MM Apr 13, 2015 / 10:01 pm

    Prometheus Tredwell will conquer all tomorrow! Pfssst.

    Would be very nice to see Stokes[y] get the 8th test century on the Sir Viv ground and Buttler the 9th, if we can be greedy. My prediction yesterday got the right number of wickets, but I was 241 runs out. Well done the middle order.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Marge Apr 13, 2015 / 11:08 pm

    First hour positively woeful. Quite a strong breeze blowing across ground. Were commentators giving that as excuse for the early scratching around? Scoreboard said it was buttler came in when bell out and I thought thank heavens they’ve not gone with night watchman. Only to be disappointed. No doubt buttler will yet again runout of partners tomorrow. And yes i am out here and it’s beautiful!


  9. Clivejw Apr 14, 2015 / 1:11 am

    Today showed that there is talent and flair in English cricket, just waiting to be released when Moores-the-Pity and St. Alastair depart the scene.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. paulewart Apr 14, 2015 / 6:50 am

    “Obviously we have our team plans because Alastair Cook has a weakness – everyone knows that – we just have to execute it as much as possible,” said Roach. “Today our plan worked.”

    Oh dear! Kemar’s outside cricket now too! You can’t say that about the man of steel! Down with that sort of thing!

    Only one mention of Colin Graves, which is wise given the state of play.


    • LordCanisLupus Apr 14, 2015 / 6:51 am

      Just a matter of time before our greatest batsman ever returns to form. We all know it.


    • Tom Apr 14, 2015 / 9:01 am

      Obviously someone in the England team texted Kemar about how to get Cook out. There can’t be any other explanation.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Vian Apr 14, 2015 / 9:39 am

    I couldn’t see much evidence that Cook had been working on his technique at all, and that really surprised me. I had read that in the warm up matches he’d opened his stance a bit, and that vaguely troubled me at the time, because it’s treating the symptom not the cause. But surely he’d done some work on the root problem, of head going too far over leaving him playing across the straight ball and out of sync outside off stump?

    It didn’t appear so, and I was actually somewhat shocked. I don’t think for a second I’m the one person in the world to have spotted Cook’s problem and can cure it, but I’m anything but alone in thinking that was his specific issue, and he doesn’t appear to have done anything about it. Ok, let’s be generous and say it was the pressure that led him to revert, but I thought I was going mad and asked Alan Butcher on Twitter if he could see any change. He couldn’t.


    • Zephirine Apr 14, 2015 / 11:58 am

      One of his former colleagues, I think it was Swann (though Strauss said something similar in nicer words) described Cook as ‘the most obstinate man in the world.’


      • Vian Apr 14, 2015 / 12:09 pm

        That’s clearly true! But I absolutely cannot believe he’s oblivious to his technical issues. It’s inconceivable.


  12. Silk Apr 14, 2015 / 10:55 am

    I love you Ian Bell


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