Result: England build 261-run lead on day three

Ian Bell
© PA Photos
England build a healthy lead of 261 runs on day three of the first Ashes Test against Australia, with Ian Bell ending the day on 95 not out.

England have steadied the ship with some patient batting on day three of the first Ashes Test.

Alastair Cook, Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell all ground out half-centuries as the hosts finished the day on 326-6.

Cook and Pietersen forged a stubborn partnership as they put on 100 together before the latter played on to his own stumps from a James Pattinson delivery, being dismissed for 64.

Cook followed just 10 runs later when he was caught by Michael Clarke off the bowling of Ashton Agar for 50.

Agar also claimed the wicket of Jonny Bairstow shortly after lunch when the batsman sent a thick edge into the gloves of Brad Haddin, while Matt Prior was dismissed for 31 when Ed Cowan caught him off the bowling of Peter Siddle.

Bell then passed the half-century mark as he began to form a good partnership with Stuart Broad that saw England reach the end of play without further loss.

Broad was involved in a controversial moment when he appeared to hit a delivery that carried through to Clarke, but umpire Aleem Dar somehow missed it and Broad was handed a reprieve, ending the day on 48* alongside Bell (95*).

Ian Bell
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