Confident innings boosts Bell

Bell scored 143 in the first innings of the opening Test against West Indies in Antigua in March but had failed to score another half-century before Friday, averaging barely six from nine innings before finding his feet at the SWALEC Stadium.

He admitted missing the ODI series against New Zealand in order to spend some time out in the middle with Warwickshire had proved beneficial and was in an upbeat mood by the close of play on the third day in the Welsh capital.

???It was nice to go back to Warwickshire and score some runs there, although that guarantees you nothing,??? he told Sky Sports Ashes HD.

???Getting runs and spending time in the middle is perfect and today it felt just how I wanted it to be.???

Australia resumed on 264-5 before being dismissed for 308 and after skipper Cook (12) and Gary Ballance (0) fell cheaply, Bell shared in solid partnerships with opener Adam Lyth and Joe Root.

Bell looked more comfortable at the crease than he did in the two-Test series against New Zealand at the start of the summer, playing some patient strokes rather than rushing into them.

???When I am playing at my best, I play it late and let it really come in tight,??? he said.

???At the start of the year I was all over the place and New Zealand bowled incredibly well at me and I was going at the ball a bit hard.

???Today I let it come and the rhythm was much better and I have been doing a lot of hard work with (England batting coach) Mark Ramprakash in the nets to do that.???

Despite England enjoying a good day, Australia???s bowlers came back at the home side towards the end of the day, picking up the final five wickets for 53 runs to leave them requiring 412 runs for victory from the final two days of the Test.

???With Ashes cricket, anything is possible,??? said Bell.

???We respect Australia, we know they are a good side and we will have to come and work hard.

???We have spoken about the hard work that needs to go in (a performance). Taking 20 wickets is always hard.???