Ian Bell insisted England would take nothing for granted as they moved into a commanding position on day three of the opening Ashes Test at Cardiff.
On a day when Bell rediscovered his own form with 60 from 89 balls, England dismissed Australia quickly and were then bowled out for for 289 to leave the tourists needing a record 412 runs to take the lead in the series.
But Bell is refusing to accept the job is done with two days left to play in South Wales
“This type of cricket, Ashes cricket, anything is possible,” he said. “We respect Australia, they’re a good side and we’re going to have to come and work hard.
“We’ve already spoken about the amount of hard work that needs to go in. Taking 20 wickets in Test cricket is always hard.”
He added: “In an Ashes series there are no gimmies, everyone is desperate out there and you expect that from Australia and we’ll expect more of the same [today]. We’re going to have to work hard.”
Yorkshire’s Joe Root also added 60 to his first-innings 134 and a lead of around 450 looked a possibility as the duo put on 97 for the fourth wicket.
“The more runs we get, it doesn’t matter about time we just want to score runs and be positive, take every option on we can and that was all it was about, being positive,” added Bell.
But a late clatter of wickets gave Australia a glimmer of hope, although Bell said England’s attacking style was not reckless and more a reflection of a new era.
He added: “You’re going to make the odd error along the way, but that’s the way we want to play now going forward, we want to take our options on and the guys have done that brilliantly all summer.
“It’s nice to contribute myself, but the way the guys have played all through the summer has been brilliant.”
Bell took guard on the back of just 56 runs in his previous nine Test attempts and admitted he has had to battle his way back to form.
“It’s been a while,” he said. “It was nice to go back to Warwickshire and score some runs there which felt nice.
“Obviously it guarantees you nothing when you come into it but getting runs and spending time in the middle is perfect. [Yesterday] was just how I want it to be.”
Australia spinner Nathan Lyon finished the second innings with figures of 4-75 as he helped Australia limit the England total and was proud of a touring bowling unit which gave up 430 in the first innings.
“We learned from bowling in the second innings compared to the first innings,” he said.
“We probably didn’t bowl our best in the first innings and we improved that in the second innings.
“To take 10 wickets out there in just over two-and-a-half sessions was a pretty big effort.
“I’m proud of all the boys and now it’s up to our batters to hopefully dig deep.”
He added: “We’ve got to learn from our first innings with the bat and see how we go. Be patient a little bit more and be hungry. (There were) too many thirties – try and push on and get a couple of our top five to get a couple of big hundreds.”