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Ashes: Michael Vaughan calls for Ian Bell promotion

England batsman Ian Bell
Bell is in the form of his life, says former captain Vaughan

Former England captain Michael Vaughan says England must push Ian Bell up the batting order to make the most of his run-making in the Ashes series.

Australia are poised to level the series 1-1 having assumed a dominant position in the third Test in Perth.

Bell was England's first innings top scorer with 53, despite batting at six.

"It's a travesty - you can't have a guy playing that well being left with the tail, he's playing as well as I've ever seen him," said Vaughan.

Bell's knock of 53 in Perth comes after scores of 76 and 68 in the first two Tests.

At the close of play on day three in the third Test, England were 81-5, with nightwatchman Jimmy Anderson at the crease and Bell the next man to come in, at seven.

"The change has to be that Bell goes up the order," former England captain Vaughan told BBC Sport.

"Put him up, even to four, with Kevin Pietersen at five and Paul Collingwood at six. Straight away when he bats tomorrow, he'll be with the tail - it's a lost cause, but we have to get Bell up the order."

Bell's record suggests, however, that he is more comfortable in the lower middle order.

He has batted at number three in 17 Tests but has a relatively modest average of 31 and has yet to manage a century.


Bell's average rises to 42 at number four, but at number five, a position he has occupied in 14 matches, it is a magnificent 62, boosted by four centuries and three fifties.

In his current position of six, he had scored 1,288 runs at an average of 56 before the current Test, hitting five centuries.

Vaughan also said England captain Andrew Strauss must be "smarter" with his handling of Graeme Swann.

The 30-year-old is the highest-ranked spinner in the world, second in the standings behind South Africa fast bowler Dale Steyn, but he bowled only nine overs in Australia's second innings in Perth, finishing with expensive figures of 0-51.

"Swann did a decent job on day one, he held up an end and Strauss rotated the seamers at the other end," said Vaughan.

"But in the second innings it didn't happen. Strauss went with the seamers for the whole of the first session and by the time Swann came on, all the Australian batsmen were in and started to attack him.

"In Melbourne they could get a slower wicket which could bring in Swann. But if it's a green-top and we go with a four-man attack, then Graeme Swann will have to hold up an end."

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England in Australia 2010-11
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