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ASHES: IAN BELL DEFENDS MODEST ENGLAND TOTAL

By NBF News
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FIRST ASHES TEST, BRISBANE:
England 260 v Australia 25-0 (day one, stumps)
Dates: 25-29 November Start time: 0000 GMT Coverage: Listen live to Test Match Special on BBC 5 live sports extra, Radio 4 LW and online (UK only). Watch live on Sky Sports 1, highlights on ITV 4 Full match scorecard

Bell's knock was a rare bright spot for England, but Siddle was the day one star

England's top scorer Ian Bell said the tourists were “not a million miles away from par” despite being bowled out for 260 on day one of the Ashes series.

Bell, who made 76 with Peter Siddle taking 6-54 and a hat-trick, went on: “We are certainly under par, but credit to Siddle, it was a fantastic spell.

“The ball swung around a bit, but it was the right decision to bat first.”

Bell insisted England were “still in good spirits” with the pressure now firmly on their bowlers to hit back.

“It hasn't all gone to plan, but we'll come back [on Friday] scrapping,” added the Warwickshire batsman as he promised an England fight back.

“We know what we need to do and the guys are ready for it.”

As Shane Watson and Simon Katich comfortably steered the Aussies to 25-0 in the early stages of their reply, the indications were not promising.

But Bell said: “Hopefully the wicket will quicken up and our bowlers will get the most out of it. We'll back them to get the balls in the right areas.”

“It was a slow wicket and it swung all day, which was a bit unusual. There are some disappointed guys, but it's [only] day one of an Ashes series.

“But the atmosphere was unbelievable, the noise and everything. It was something really special to play in. Siddle bowled a great spell.”

Discussing his own innings, which featured eight boundaries, he explained: “I've gained a lot of experience over the last couple of years and started to put that into my game a little bit.

“Hopefully the best is still to come. [Batting coach] Graham Gooch has helped my cricket. I'm full of confidence at the moment.”

Asked if he was content to bat down the order or coveted another chance at number three, Bell replied: “I am enjoying my role at number six.

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“My record isn't great at number three. It is something I would like a shot at again, but I have to work my way up.”

Siddle, celebrating a Test-best haul on his 26th birthday, said of the delivery that got him his hat-trick: “It didn't really worry me too much, it being a hat-trick ball.

“The crowd starting roaring, and it was very loud out there and definitely did pump me up. There was a little bit of adrenaline from the crowd but it didn't come off as the ball I wanted.

“Still, it got him [Stuart Broad] in front [lbw]. I knew it was most likely in line.”

After battling with injury for most of the year to earn a recall ahead of Doug Bollinger, Siddle added: “It's just been an amazing day.

“Any wicket is good and in a series like this, to contribute with those three plus the others makes it a good start for us and hopefully the boys can go on.

“It was a bit of change from my type of bowling. I usually go short of a length but on this type of wicket a little bit fuller worked well.”