Ashes 2015: Ian Bell says Test cricket is 'brutal environment'

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Ian Bell will 'give everything' for England
Ashes 2015: England v Australia
Venue: Edgbaston, Birmingham. Date: 29 July - 2 August
Coverage: Live Test Match Special radio and text commentary on every match on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra & BBC Sport website, plus desktop, tablets, mobiles and app.

Under-pressure England batsman Ian Bell has described Test cricket as a "brutal environment" ahead of the third Ashes Test at Edgbaston - but says there is no reason he cannot return to form.

Bell has scored just 117 runs in his last six Tests at an average of 10.63.

"It's a brutal environment, international sport," Bell, 33, said. "You have to perform.

"I'm realistic enough to know that I haven't played to the best of my ability in the last two months."

Despite his struggles, Bell has been promoted up the order to number three for the match on his home ground and the Warwickshire batsman is optimistic that the move can revitalise his form.

"For me it's about performing," Bell told BBC Sport. "Whether you're batting three, four or five you've got to score hundreds and I'm looking forward to that challenge.

"I know that when I play at my best I'm a world-class cricketer.

"I went from a hundred in Antigua (in the first Test against the West Indies in April) to a little tricky run - who's to say that there's not a hundred round the corner and I go off on a good run?"

In decline?
Since the start of 2012, Ian Bell is averaging just 34.69.
He scored five centuries in 2011 but has only recorded six more since then
He averages 38.58 under Alastair Cook's captaincy, compared to 56.75 under Andrew Strauss

Bell, who averages 39.27 at number three compared to an overall Test average of 43.18 in 112 matches, also backed England to bounce back after they were thrashed in the second Test at Lord's.

"People wrote us off for this Test series, said it was going to be 5-0, but we performed brilliantly in Cardiff," Bell said.

"We were poor at Lord's but there's no reason why we can't turn it round at Edgbaston."

England team-mate Joe Root on Bell

Ian Bell and Joe Root
Ian Bell and Joe Root put on 97 for the fourth wicket in the second innings at Cardiff

"Every international player is playing for their place at times," Root told BBC Sport. "Ian's an experienced player and I'm sure he'll be excited to play at his home ground and that's got to be something that gets him up for it.

"We all know he's capable of doing it. He's performed well at three previously, so everything is in his favour."

Warwickshire director of cricket Dougie Brown on Bell

"He's a world-class player," Brown told BBC WM 95.6. "He's been slightly short of runs but players go through that. It's not so much a loss of form as a loss of runs. He just hasn't quite managed to get himself in.

"But he loves being back at Edgbaston and he's always done well there and will be very supported.

"England will be looking to their senior players, Ian Bell is one of those senior players and I'm sure he'll have a good Test match."

Warwickshire team-mate Chris Woakes on Bell

"He's got it all," Woakes told BBC Radio 5 live. "I've played with Ian Bell for a long time for England and for Warwickshire. He's played over 100 Test matches, averages 45-plus and is a world-class batsman.

"He's not in the best form at the moment but, with the next Test being at Edgbaston, his home ground, hopefully he'll produce the goods.

"He's in good spirits, seeing as he hasn't scored the amount of runs he'd like. But being promoted to number three will be a good thing for him. It will help him get his confidence back and move on."

Ex-England team-mate Sam Robson on Bell

"He probably hasn't had the couple of months he would have liked, but for me, when he's in form, and I've got no doubt that form will return, he's definitely one of England's best players, if not the best," Robson told BBC Radio 5 live.

"You look at his records. He's arguably one of England best Test players. He is a first-class player and, coming on the back of a heavy defeat, you need your best players and a big score is round the corner."

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