England batsman Ian Bell has spoken out in defiant fashion following his side’s defeat to South Africa, insisting that in the second Test, England (7/4 To Beat South Africa) will be fighting to maintain their world number one Test status.
Should England lose the second Test at Headingly next week, it will hand the Proteas (South Africa 15/8 To Beat England) the top spot in the world rankings, and that is something Bell and the rest of the England team will be working hard to avoid. “In a way, this match has forced our hand,” said Bell (9/2 Top England Series Batsman). “In the next two Tests, we have to go out and fight for every single run and wicket and try to hold on to number one. There's no doubt, when you see how South Africa played, we're going to have a real scrap on our hands. We're all very proud that we've got to number one, and we definitely want to stay there for a long period of time.”
Bell (5/1 Top England First Innings Bat) also admitted the performance in the first Test was unacceptable, saying: “We know this defeat wasn't good enough, but we're confident we can get back in the series. We start on zero at Headingley - the scoreboard starts again. There's no doubt that, if we play the cricket we know we can, we can beat South Africa. If we don't, we know how good they are - and they won't let us back in the game.” Bell was one of the few positives in an England (5/6 Draw No Bet) showing that brought criticism for the lack of strength in the bowling attack, but he believes coach Andy Flower will provide the motivation needed to galvanise the whole squad.
Following the criticism over England’s (5/6 To Lead After First Innings) poor pace showing, there is a chance that Steven Finn could be brought into the side for the second Test to provide a much needed injection of pace that will allow England to compete with the likes of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel.