In an exclusive interview with GiveMeSport, Ian Bell has discussed the highs and lows of the Kia Oval, a ground which is an extremely special venue for the middle order batsman.
The Warwickshire man made his Test Match debut in south-east London 10 years ago as he scored 70 runs and took two catches against the West Indies to help his side to victory.
Other highlights at the Oval for the 2013 Ashes hero include his career best score of a whopping 235 against India in 2011 in the game England reached number one in the world, winning the Ashes in 2005 and 2009 where he also scored 72 to help his nation to success.
Bell’s profile is the highest it has ever been despite his consistent success over the last 10 years thanks to a tremendous summer which is arguably the form of his life. Three tons and two half-centuries in the opening four Ashes Tests has made him the star of the summer.
“I feel like I’m contributing to the team, it’s all about making sure you put in performances that help the team win and hopefully another personal performance would be nice. As long as we win the game again and to be part of that will be pretty special,” Bell exclusively told GiveMeSport.
“I feel like I’m in a good place. I’m not sure if that’s the best I’ve ever played but it’s a nice place to be and I’m really enjoying it.”
Bell’s career has come a long way since his 2004 Test bow with him now averaging a shade under 47 in his 92 matches and he says the Oval is a special ground for him.
“It’s a good place, there has been some high’s and low’s here but it’s a great place to finish the summer, that’s certainly what it feels like. It’s like the build-up to the end of the Test Match summer at this special place, it’s where came number one in the world and received the Mace and its where you win the Ashes so it’s a really nice place to come.
“I remember my debut and that was a great time to come into the Test team because we won all seven Tests that summer. Spirits were really high in 2004 and it really was a fabulous time to enter this team.
“A year later we won the Ashes here, it wasn’t a great game personally but what an amazing game to be involved in. Obviously KP’s innings and winning the Ashes the first time in a long time was an incredible thing to be a part of.
“Another high from this ground was my highest Test score against India a couple of years ago and that was a great moment to come number one.”
Speaking ahead of the final Test, Bell is adamant England will not take their foot of the gas and hand any kind of momentum to their Australian rivas.
“It’s a massive Test Match for us and regardless of the series won already every time you go out there you want to win, it’s a huge Test and we want to go out and finish the series on a high.
“We have a lot of cricket coming up against Australia with the 20/20 coming along with the ODI’s and straight over to the Ashes. Momentum is key and we don’t want to give any of their players any momentum going into the one day series or also going home with some confidence.”