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Justin Langer column

Ian Bell, Alastair Cook
Centuries for Bell and Cook put England in command on day three in Sydney

Justin Langer
By Justin Langer
Australia batting/leadership coach

Hats off to Alastair Cook and Ian Bell.

In the past there have been doubts about their capacity to succeed in international cricket, especially against powerful nations like Australia.

Throughout this summer though, both of these young men have broken the shackles and played magnificently well.

Cook has been outstanding - his concentration and discipline have been exceptional.

Where once he was limited and lacking penetration through the offside, especially on the front foot, he now possesses an all-round game which makes him difficult to bowl to.

His technical improvement is a credit to his work ethic, and his temperament a testament to his strong character. He has the potential to become one of the highest run scorers the game has seen.

Ian Bell, meanwhile, has turned himself into a master technician.

My former team-mates at Somerset will attest to the fact that I was never a great Ian Bell fan.


My view was that he looked correct but never had the capacity to really hurt the opposition.

Now I am happy to put my hand up and say that he is one of the most improved players I have seen for a long time.

While I am obviously not enjoying watching him make runs, I believe he has played brilliantly throughout this series. His century was a reward for his contribution to England's success his summer.

One of the stand-out features of this England squad is the collective and individual improvement made by a number of their players.

Great teams and players can be judged by their ability to keep improving and England have shown this in the development of most of their squad.

Australia can learn a lot from the progress made by England over the last two years.

It wasn't that long ago that they were down and out in the West Indies, now they are making us earn every run and wicket; another sign of a very good cricket team.

From Sydney,


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see also
Cook and Bell make Aussies suffer
05 Jan 11 |  England
Cook glad to end 'lonely' summer
05 Jan 11 |  England
Fifth Ashes Test day three photos
04 Jan 11 |  England
Live cricket on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Cricket
England in Australia 2010-11
08 Oct 09 |  Cricket

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