Bell scored 109, his third consecutive ton in Ashes Tests, before he fell in Smith’s first over, caught at first slip.

Smith then removed dangerous Johnny Bairstow and Matt Prior to leave England 7-289 at stumps. 

“If the dry conditions stay we know we have quality bowlers who can bowl reverse swing and then later on spin will come into it,” said Bell.

“We’ll see as the game goes on what a good first-innings score is. It was disappointing to lose the three wickets at the end but not a bad day for us overall.”

Bell joined the ranks of Jack Hobbs, Walter Hammond and Chris Broad as the only Poms to score hundreds in three Aussie-England five-dayers in a row after his knock at Trent Bridge in the first test and 115 in 2010-11 in Sydney. 

“It is a real honour to be with those kinds of names, and playing at Lord’s as well it is a special place,” he said. “When you do well here it is really special.

“Every time I go out I just want to go out and fight. An innings at a time is important for us as a team and for me as an individual.

“It is what I want to do as much as I can. I have done it a little bit over the last couple of years now, and it is nice to come out and do it again.”

Returning quick Ryan Harris did damage early in the day taking the wickets of Johnathan Trott and Joe Root after an early bowling change from Clarke saw Shane Watson take Alastair Cook plumb LBW to slump to 3-28.

“Credit has got to go to Australia – Harris coming back into the team bowled really well, and Jonathan Trott and myself had to leave really well,” Bell said. 

Bell saved England’s day from disaster anchoring partnerships of 58 with Trott and 144 with Bairstow as the ball was torn up by the dry Lord’s deck. 

“It was another great day of Test cricket,” Bell said. “Coming from Trent Bridge, we had an amazing match there and it looks like we’ve got another one here at Lord’s.”

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