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England were not good enough - Bell

George Dobell at Adelaide Oval
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Ian Bell kept his head - and his wicket - while all about him others were losing theirs © PA Photos
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Ian Bell could hardly hide his frustration after seeing his England team-mates deliver another batting performance of striking incompetence.

Bell was one of only three England players to reach double-figures as they were brushed aside for 172 in their first innings in Adelaide and afterwards admitted the performance was "just not good enough".

Bell finished unbeaten on 72, but could do little to stop England conceding a first-innings deficit of 398 runs. By the end of the day, Australia had extended their lead to 530 and have an excellent chance over the final two days of extending their series lead to 2-0 with three to play. England, whose top score in the series so far is 179, will probably have to bat for five sessions to save the game.

"We can't afford to be bowled out for under 200," Bell said. "You're not going to win anything like that. There are no excuses; it's just not good enough. It's another disappointing performance. There's no getting away from it, we haven't played very well. We've got to improve and improve fast."

While Bell played Mitchell Johnson with something approaching ease, his colleagues struggled. The fast bowler finished with figures of 7 for 40 with several England batsmen, especially in the lower order, looking far from comfortable when confronted with his hostility.

"When you're playing pace, you have to have serious courage," Bell said. "We have to make sure that's the first thing we have. When someone bowls at 150kph, you have to be switched on every ball. Am I scared? No, not at all scared. I can't speak for everyone, but no."

Despite the poor start to the series, Bell remained confident that the team were capable of saving the game and clawing their way back into the series. Earlier this year, England resisted for 143 overs in Auckland to save a Test against New Zealand and a year ago, they came from 1-0 down to defeat India in India.

"You've seen what this team has done in the past," he said. "These games are saveable but someone is going to have to play an incredible innings. If you want to bat for a day, 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 - or probably two or three guys - have to step up. It's a challenge but that leads to opportunity and we have to take it."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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