Batsmen's milestone effort comes as Australia's bowlers recover to restrict hosts to 289 for seven at Lord's.
Ian Bell makes it three hundreds in three Ashes Tests for England
Ian Bell became only the fourth Englishman to score hundreds in three successive Ashes Test matches yesterday, but acknowledged that Australia were still very much in the game after an impressive day with the ball.
Bell's 109 in his team's score of 289 for seven was the same score as he had made in the second innings of England's 14-run first Test win at Trent Bridge last week, with both these centuries following his 115 in the final match of the 2010/11 Ashes series in Sydney.
Bell, 31, followed in the footsteps of Jack Hobbs, who did it in 1911/12 and 1924/25, Walter Hammond in 1928/29 and Chris Broad in 1986/87.
"Today was about trying to get as many runs as we could and if that comes with it that's good," said Bell of his record-equalling century.
Bell had come in with England in huge trouble at 28 for three after they had won the toss, but supported by Jonathan Trott (58) and Jonny Bairstow (67), he saw England to 271 for four before he was one of Steven Smith's three wickets as the Australians finished the day well, and feeling they will be in charge if they dismiss England quickly today.
Bell added:"Credit has to go to Australia. Ryan Harris, coming back into the team, bowled well. Jonathan Trott and myself had to leave really well.
"You know Australia are just going to keep coming at you and you've never got enough [runs]."
But Bell believes England's bowlers can take advantage of the Lord's wicket as the match goes on, to make the Australian batsmen toil.
"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," he said.
Follow us @SprtNationalUAE