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Bell will start third Ashes Test

Third Ashes Test, Edgbaston: England v Australia
Dates: Thursday 30 July to Monday 3 August Start time: 1100 BST
Coverage: Listen to Test Match Special on BBC Radio 4 Longwave, 5 Live sports extra, the Red Button and BBC Sport website. Text commentary on BBC Sport website and mobile phones. Also live on Sky Sports.


England batsman Ian Bell
Bell has played in 46 Tests for England

Ian Bell will start Thursday's third Ashes Test at Edgbaston after England opted against calling up a replacement for the injured Kevin Pietersen.

Pietersen has been ruled out of the rest of the series after undergoing surgery on an ongoing Achilles problem.

But his omission is the only change to the squad for Edgbaston after their second Test victory at Lord's.

"Kevin's injury has presented an opportunity for Ian Bell," said national selector Geoff Miller.

"The performance of the team at Lord's was outstanding and a convincing win was well deserved.

"We have obviously had to make a change to the side following Kevin Pietersen's unavailability and we wish Kevin the best with his rehabilitation and look forward to his return to the England team in due course.

"But we know Ian Bell is a top-class batsmen with an excellent international record for England.

"Ian will be looking to make the most of his return to the side during an Ashes series and while we have a strong idea of where he will bat we won't be disclosing the final line-up of the side until the toss on Thursday."

Bell's inclusion is expected to be the only change to the side following their 115-run win over Australia in the second Test, though paceman Steve Harmison and spinner Monty Panesar are again included in the squad.

It means Warwickshire batsman Bell, who has not played international cricket since being dropped following England's defeat by the West Indies in Jamaica in February, will make his return on his home ground.

He was out for a duck against Hampshire on Friday having made only seven runs in the first innings of the drawn match at the Rose Bowl, but has been in good form for most of the season.

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Prior to his double failure against Hampshire, he had scored 640 runs in seven County Championship matches.

However, he will be hoping for a fresh start against Australia, having struggled in his 10 previous Ashes Tests.

He has managed just 502 runs off their attack, at a poor average of 25.10 - compared to an overall Test average of 40.59.

Elsewhere, Andrew Flintoff - who retires from Test cricket at the end of the series - is expected to play once again, despite ongoing problems with his knee.

"Obviously he's got the problem - that's why he made his decision about Test cricket. But I'm sure it'll take wild dogs to keep him off the Test arena for these three matches," said Miller.

"Andrew and the medical staff are quite bullish about his prospects of playing but we'll continue to monitor his progress in the days leading up to Thursday."


England squad: AJ Strauss (capt), AN Cook, RS Bopara, IR Bell, PD Collingwood, MJ Prior (wkt), A Flintoff, SCJ Broad, GP Swann, JM Anderson, G Onions, SJ Harmison, MS Panesar.



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see also
England without Pietersen
22 Jul 09 |  England
Bell makes duck as Warwicks draw
24 Jul 09 |  Counties
Edgbaston Test pitch like 'jelly'
23 Jul 09 |  England
Bell can shine in Ashes - Vaughan
22 Jul 09 |  England
Pietersen to miss rest of Ashes
22 Jul 09 |  England
Flintoff inspires England victory
20 Jul 09 |  England


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