Related Link: Sri Lanka Tour of England 2014
Stylish middle order batsman Ian Bell is all set to become the 12th Englishman to play in 100 Tests when the Second and final Investec Test begins at Headingley in Leeds this Friday. The first Investec Test between England and Sri Lanka as we know ended in a thrilling draw with the match going till the very final ball. The second Test will now decide the short series and one would only hope that Headingley will not come up with a flat batting track as Lord’s.
As far as the 32-year-old Ian Bell is concerned, the Leeds’ Test will be the 100th of his career. Unlike other English batsmen, Ian Bell comes off as a very wristy batsman who is incredibly good against the spinners. Bell has this wonderful knack of using his feet against the spinner much to the contrast to other English batsmen who tend to play from the crease with their get away sweep shots.
Before Ian Bell, 11 other English players have achieved the feat of playing 100 Tests. The list of English players who had more than 100 Test caps are as below (in the order of most runs scored):
- Alec Stewart
- Graham Gooch
- David Gower
- Michael Atherton
- Colin Cowdrey
- Geoff Boycott
- Kevin Pietersen
- Alastair Cook
- Ian Botham
- Andrew Strauss
- Graham Thorpe
Ian Bell made his Test debut a decade ago in 2004 at The Oval against the West Indies. Since then the right hander has scored 20 Test centuries and 40 50s to become an integral part of the English batting line-up. Bell till date has a highest score of 235 while he is closing towards the 7000 run-mark in his Test career.
So what would be the chances of Ian Bell scoring a century in his 100th Test or England managing to win the Headingley Test? What do the cricket betting pundits think about these two? I reckon it all depends on the Headingley pitch and if it can produce the sideways movement as it always has done, then England are more than likely to defeat Sri Lanka. And about Ian Bell scoring a century, well it is possible as he was in good touch in the English first innings at Lord’s.
Meanwhile Ian Bell has this to say to the ECB website about approaching his 100-Test landmark:
To look at those numbers and see some of the names that you’re with – you have to step back and take a minute really. It’s great. Hopefully there’s a lot more to come and I’m really pleased with where I am right now.
It’s incredible to be sat here now that close to 100 – I can’t believe it really. It’s a dream come true.
When you start you never really dream of getting this far. It’s been a dream, just to play cricket for your country is a dream come true. As a young kid that’s all I wanted to do, so to do it for 10 years and play 100 games is more than I expected.
To score three hundreds in an Ashes series and to win another Ashes was definitely the highlight of my career so far.
You grow up watching a ‘Botham Ashes’ and you dream of growing up and being man of the series. To have achieved that as well is something that I was always aiming for.