Unbeaten on 72 after another dismal batting display by England on Saturday , Ian Bell said Australia’s Mitchell Johnson held no fear for him.
He was unable to extend the same confidence in his teammates, however, after the red-hot seamer took a stunning seven-wicket haul to skittle England for 172 on day three of the second Ashes test at Adelaide Oval.
Australia pushed its lead to 530 runs at stumps and plan to make England cook in the heat early on day four today before unleashing Johnson again to push for victory.
“Obviously, we’re going to have to find an answer because (Johnson’s) blowing us away middle and lower order,” Bell told reporters. “We need to make sure we can somehow get through his spell ... we need to find a way, and pretty quickly. When you’re playing pace, you have to have some serious courage, don’t you?” said Bell, who was the difference between the teams in England’s 3-0 win at home in the first Ashes series of the year.
“Every batsman has said that, and we need to obviously make sure that’s the first thing we’re getting out there and we’re going to battle hard. You know there’s going to be a few past your nose. I don’t think we should have been surprised by this. He’s a quality performer. He’s bowled a lot more accurately in this series probably than he has in the past. I’m not surprised that he’s bowled well. When he’s bowling at 150 kph, you’ve got to be switched on every ball.”
Asked if he was scared by Johnson’s pace, Bell responded: “No, not at all. I can’t speak for everyone, but no.”
No team has ever won a test chasing down more than 418 in a fourth innings but Bell refused to concede England were out of the contest despite the Adelaide Oval wicket expected to offer more turn, reverse swing and variable bounce on the final days.
“These games are saveable, but someone is going to have to play an incredible innings,” he said. “If you want to bat a day at a ground, this is the ground to do it. But what we’ve done in the last three innings isn’t going to get us close. So someone is going to have to - probably two or three guys are really going to have to step up. It’s a challenge, but that leads to opportunities. So we need to take it.”