Ashes 2013-14: Ben Stokes has a massive future - Ian Bell

Ian Bell says the "future looks massive" for Ben Stokes after his unbeaten 72 on the fourth day of the third Test against Australia in Perth.

England look set to hand over the Ashes, but all-rounder Stokes, 22, took the match to a fifth day with England 251-5 chasing a notional 504.

"The potential for the future looks massive with Ben," said Bell.

"His character with the ball as well - running in like he did all day and yesterday - is a good sign for us."

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Durham's Stokes, who made his Test debut in the second match of the series in Adelaide, has taken five wickets alongside his 119 runs with the bat.

"He's a really good find," added Bell, who made 60 on day four in Perth.

"I think he's got a fantastic future ahead of him with the way he's shown he can play quick bowling, the way he hits down the ground and just that attitude with the ball."

The fifth-wicket stand of 99 between Bell and Stokes was England's main resistance in their bid to avoid an unassailable 3-0 deficit in the series.

With two matches remaining - in Melbourne and Sydney - Australia need only five more wickets to hold the Ashes for the first time since 2009, while also denying England the chance to win a fourth successive series for the first time in 123 years.

Analysis

"When you are being hammered, you need players that will toe the line. For that reason, England have to decide if they can continue or move on without Pietersen. They have a big decision to make."

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"Coming out here, we had some real excitement," said Bell, who has previously played in four successful Ashes campaigns.

"But I don't think we've shown anybody the kind of cricket we can potentially play.

"Hats off to Australia - they've batted better than us, caught better than us and bowled better than us."

Kevin Pietersen was one of the five England wickets to fall on day four, caught on the long-on boundary from the off-spin of Nathan Lyon.

Pietersen has scored 165 runs at an average of 27.50 in the series, but some of his methods of dismissal have attracted criticism.

Former England opener Geoffrey Boycott said Pietersen "bottles it" when required to bat with patience and concentration, while BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew believes England have a decision to make over the 33-year-old's future.

But Bell said: "Kevin will be as frustrated as anyone, but I'd rather have him in my team than play against him.

"He does things that a lot of other players can't."

England will fight to the end - Watson

England's bowlers also suffered on the fourth day, with Australia's George Bailey hitting James Anderson for a joint world record 28 runs from a single over.

Anderson took a total of 58 wickets in England's last three Ashes series victories and Shane Watson, who has been on the losing side on each occasion, said it was enjoyable to see the tables turned.

"A lot of us have played all these guys a lot over the last couple of series, and we're starting to get closer to knowing how not to allow them into the game," said Watson, who made 103 from 108 balls.

"We've had quite a few bad experiences against Jimmy Anderson - I've certainly been a part of that. It's always nice to see the shoe on the other foot.

"We've been at their mercy at times, so it certainly provided a bit of enjoyment for us."