Ian Bell's match winning innings in the fourth Test at Chester-le-Street has firmly established him as the leading run scorer in the Ashes series and catapulted him out of the shadows of his fellow England batsmen.
Bell has gone quietly about his work this series and has often rescued England from some precarious situations, not least in the last Test at Durham when England found themselves on 40-3 and in danger of losing the match.
His subsequent innings was made with composure and plenty of skill; Bell outshone his illustrious colleagues and gave Australia further headaches in this series.
It appears the Australians are short on inspiration on how to bowl at him in this series, which is testament to the player himself. To other batsmen Australia look to have clear strategies on how to dismiss them, but Bell has taken his game to another level, and has been able to combat anything the Australians can throw at him.
This is a huge contrast to the 2005 series when Bell was almost bullied out by the Aussies. He did not have the presence he has now, and the huge characters in the Australian side in 2005, such as Shane Warne, seemed to hold sway over him and could have ended his career before it had started.
Bell has battled hard to establish himself in the England side, but now he is arguably their best player and certainly one of the most reliable. His hard work has paid off with interest.
Kevin Pietersen has not been at his best this series, nor have the normally reliable Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott. None have scored heavily enough and with the likes of Jonny Bairstow and Matt Prior struggling, and Joe Root trying to establish himself England have needed Bell and his runs.
Without them, England might well have found themselves in a different position in this series.
Bell is now a much more aggressive player than when he first started his career, often looking to take on the opposition spin bowlers and force his game upon them. He is not prepared to be dictated to anymore often hitting spinners over the top.
He is now firmly established as England's opening batsman in the 50-over version of the game as well. His reinvention of himself has enabled him to play attacking strokes all around the wicket and more often than not he gives England a very good start.
When Bell first started his career who would have thought that he would be opening the batting for England in one-day internationals?
Bell has scored nearly 6500 Test runs in his 92 Test matches, with an average just under 50. Those stats speak for themselves and at the age of 31, Bell still has plenty more time in his England career and is arguably now in his prime. He also has 135 one-day international caps, scoring nearly 4500 runs.
It is now time that Bell receives the recognition his performances deserve, and by the end of this series I firmly believe that he will have succeeded in becoming a truly recognised force in World cricket.
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