England v Sri Lanka: Ian Bell honoured to reach 100 Test caps

Ian Bell England
Ian Bell has scored 20 hundreds and 40 half-centuries in 99 Tests

Ian Bell says he is happy to play anywhere in England's top order as he prepares to celebrate the "incredible" milestone of 100 Test appearances.

The 32-year-old will become the 12th man to reach a century of England Test caps when he plays against Sri Lanka at Headingley on Friday.

Bell, who hit 56 and nine in the drawn first Test, has 20 hundreds and 40 half-centuries from 99 matches so far.

"I'm really honoured," said Bell. "I'll bat anywhere for this England side."

Joe Root, who was dropped for the last Ashes Test in Sydney, played at five and scored 200 not out as England passed 500 for the first time in three years at Lord's.

In the second innings, Root's Yorkshire team-mate Gary Ballance hit an unbeaten 104 at number three in only his second Test.

Bell, who came in at four between the less experienced pair, has been touted as the natural replacement for the absent Jonathan Trott as England's number three. But he insists he has no concerns over his place in the order.

"I'm really happy at four. If I was asked to bat at three, I'd bat at three," he told BBC Sport.

"It seems very quickly we've got a nice compact middle order, which is what you need at this level."

Bell's landmark Test arrives 10 years into an England career that has taken in four Ashes series victories.

Three of his 20 Test centuries came in last summer's home win against Australia, an achievement that contributed to him being named England's 2013-14 player of the year.

England's Test centurions
Alec Stewart133 appearances (1990-2003)
Graham Gooch118 (1975-1995)
David Gower117 (1978-1992)
Michael Atherton115 (1989-2001)
Colin Cowdrey114 (1954-1975)
Geoffrey Boycott108 (1964-1982)
Kevin Pietersen104 (2005-2014)*
Alastair Cook103 (2006-2014)*
Ian Botham102 (1977-1992)
Andrew Strauss100 (2004-2012)
Graham Thorpe100 (1993-2005)
* still playing

In reaching 100 Tests, the Warwickshire batsman follows in the footsteps of captain Alastair Cook and former team-mate Kevin Pietersen, as well as the likes of David Gower, Ian Botham, Graham Gooch, Geoffrey Boycott and record caps holder Alec Stewart.

"It's an amazing feeling. The names that have played 100 Test matches for England - to be part of that will be absolutely incredible," Bell said.

And he added: "The way I'm playing at the minute is exactly where I want to be, and it has been like that for the last 12 months.

"I feel like right now is where I want to be as a Test player and hopefully there's a lot more to come."

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