Ian Bell remains confident despite late wickets

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Ian Bell insists that England remain in a strong position on 289-7 going into the second day at Lords, despite losing three late wickets. 

Steve Smith struck three times as Day 1 drew to a close, removing Bell, Jonny Bairstow and Matt Prior in quick succession to see England collapse from 271-4. 

Bell's 109 was his second consecutive century after his second innings ton at Trent Bridge set up England's 14 run victory. 

On day 1 at Lords he enjoyed significant stands with both Jonathan Trott (58) and Jonny Bairstow (67) to haul England from a precarious position at 28-3 to a more than respectable 271-4. 

However, part-timer Smith's removal of Bell sparked a collapse that saw honours even at the close of play.

Bell remained bullish at the close of play, however. 

"We'll see as the game goes on what a good first-innings score is. It was disappointing to lose the three wickets at the end but not a bad day for us overall", said the England batsman to BBC Sport. 

England will be looking for their tail to wag significantly to propel them to a score of 380 or more, a par total on a good batting track at the home of cricket.

England will also look to Graeme Swann later in the match with the pitch already showing signs of breaking up and becoming drier. 

Bell acknowledged this, saying: "If the dry conditions stay we know we have quality bowlers who can bowl reverse swing and then later on spin will come into it." 

James Anderson's reverse swing will be key, and it was his ten wicket haul that sealed England's victory at Trent Bridge.

After his two 109s at Trent Bridge and Lords, and 115 in the fifth Test of the last Ashes series at Sydney, Bell yesterday became just the fourth Englishman to score centuries in 3 consecutive Ashes Test matches.

On joining Chris Broad, Wally Hammond and Jack Hobbs on an illustrious list, Bell said: "It is absolutely incredible. It is a real honour to be with those kinds of names, and playing at Lord's as well it is a special place. When you do well here it is really special."

The England batsman also didn't shy away from giving Australia credit as they showed their characteristic fight to wrestle their way back into the match after Bairstow and Bell's partnership of 144.

 He said: "You know Australia are just going to keep coming at you and you've never got enough."

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