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Bell defends England's number one status

Ian Bell has defended England’s status as number one Test nation in the world. After England’s resounding defeat in the first Test against South Africa Bell was asked if England were in a false position at the top of the rankings.

"You don't just look at the last nine Test matches, you look over the last two or three years," Bell said. "That's why we're ranked No1. The points are monitored over a long period of time. It's been a consistent effort over a long period but there's no doubt when you see how South Africa played we're going to have a real scrap on our hands."

England need to win or draw the series to retain top ranking, which means they will have to win one of the remaining Tests, at Headingley or Lords. That will be a daunting task given how well the South Africans batted at the Oval.

"We must look at certain issues that we could have done better," Bell said. "We're confident we can get back in the series. We start on nought 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."

Batting at number 5, Bell has become a key player for England. In the second innings at the Oval he changed his naturally aggressive game to play a stubborn blocking innings. He scored a respectable half-century but couldn’t build a lasting partnership to save the game.

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