Ian Bell made a pretty strong case for a possible promotion up the order with his impressive opening day innings of 76. Bell was forced to abandon any hopes of playing a longer innings as the succession of batting partners arrived at the crease and quickly left again as Peter Siddle ripped through England's batting line-up.
Bell was lucky when a thin inside edge saved him from a possible lbw decision first ball, but five balls later he had announced his arrival at the crease with a lovely shot through the covers for four in typical Bell fashion. Throughout his first innings of the series, Bell played every ball on its merits and judged the bounce better than his batting partners and anyone who has placed an Ashes bet on him being England's top batsman would have been pleased by what they saw.
Bell seems a much more confident player than when he last faced the Australians. The look he shot back at Simon Katich after an unsuccessful appeal showed he wasn't going to be intimidated like he had before.
Bell and Alistair Cook had managed to get England back on terms, with a useful 72, until the opener edged Siddle to the slips. After Cook's wicket fell, Siddle took out another two English batsmen for his hat-trick and ended any real chance Bell had of scoring his first century against the Aussies. It also shifted the Ashes odds in the home side's favour.
Bell looks to be in the form of his life though and if he keeps performing like he did at the Gabba, then that century could be very much on his radar.