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Last Updated: Friday, 14 July 2006, 18:01 GMT 19:01 UK
Bell hoping to book England place
England batsman Ian Bell
Bell salutes his team-mates after his third Test century
England batsman Ian Bell admitted his place is still under pressure despite a century on his return to the Test side.

Bell was dropped for the series against Sri Lanka, but made 100 not out as England dominated Pakistan at Lord's.

"I want to be a big part of this England set-up," said Bell, who came in for the injured Andrew Flintoff.

"This was a chance to prove I'm still good enough to play at this level. I have to keep pushing and keep scoring runs to push for a permanent place."

Captain Flintoff is expected to return for the second Test at Old Trafford on 27 July.

"I don't like missing out but we've got a strong squad and with Freddie (Flintoff) coming back there'll be some interesting selection problems," he said.

"I came into this series knowing I have to fight for a position. With Freddie being injured, it was nice to contribute."

Bell had to endure a nervous wait as he neared his third Test century, as his tail-ender partners did their best to stay in long enough to complete the task.

I just pray I don't have to bowl so many overs and get wickets as soon as possible

Danish Kaneria

The 24-year-old batted with Steve Harmison, who was run out for two, and last man Monty Panesar, but insisted he never had any doubts about his team-mates' abilities.

"Me and Steve saw some gaps and thought there was a possibility of a few twos but we pushed it a little bit too close," added Bell.

"And then I had full confidence in Monty Panesar to see off four balls."

Meanwhile, Pakistan spinner Danish Kaneria bemoaned the absence of injured paceman Shoaib Akhtar after he had to bowl 52 overs to take three England wickets.

"Shoaib Akhtar keeps batsmen under pressure and my job becomes much easier with him," said Kaneria.

"It's going to be similar wickets wherever we play because it's keeping very hot and wickets will be dry.

"I just pray I don't have to bowl so many overs and get wickets as soon as possible," he added.



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