Cricket: Bell scores third straight Ashes ton

Ian Bell became only the fourth Englishman to score centuries in three consecutive Ashes matches when he made 109 in the second Test against Australia at Lord's on Thursday.

Bell's innings followed on from last week's 109 in England's 14-run win first Test win at Trent Bridge and his 115 at Sydney in January 2011 in the final match of Ashes-holders England's 3-1 series win 'Down Under'.

The only other English batsmen to achieve the same feat were Jack Hobbs, who did it twice in 1911/12 and 1924/25, Wally Hammond in 1928-29 and Chris Broad in 1986/87.

England were in dire straits at 28 for three when Bell came to the crease on Thursday.

But by the time he was caught by Australia captain Michael Clarke off leg-spinner Steven Smith to end a more than five hour innings of 211 balls, including 16 fours, England were 271 for five.

Australia's Don Bradman, cricket's greatest batsman, scored centuries in six consecutive Ashes Tests between 1937 and 1938 and four between 1929 and 1930.

Bradman's sequence of six ended when he did not bat in The Oval Test in 1938. He scored centuries in the first two Tests of 1946-47. So he scored centuries in eight consecutive Ashes Tests in which he batted.

Charlie Macartney, David Boon and Greg Blewett also scored centuries in three consecutive Tests for Australia.