England, after winning the toss, were 289 for seven against Australia at the close of the first day of the second Ashes Test at Lord’s on Thursday.
Tim Bresnan was seven not out and James Anderson four not out after Ian Bell made 109.
Bell became only the fourth Englishman to score centuries in three consecutive Ashes matches when he made a century 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.
Harris avenges agony
Just two-and-a half-years ago, Australia’s quest to regain the Ashes left Ryan Harris at the lowest ebb of his cricket career.
But the injury-hit pace bowler finally put those painful memories to one side as he led Australia’s attack on the first day of the second Ashes Test at Lord’s on Thursday.
Before lunch Harris took two wickets in five balls, including the prized scalp of Kevin Pietersen, in front of a capacity crowd featuring Queen Elizabeth II, to give Australia renewed hope of regaining the Ashes.
It was a cathartic moment for Harris, who has battled back from a series of ailments that threatened to wreck his career.
Harris emerged as a new ball threat for Australia, after belatedly marking his Test debut aged 30, with six wickets against New Zealand in 2010.
But since then the 33-year-old has been plagued by a series of injuries including a chronic knee problem that will be with him until he retires.
The most frustrating of those injuries came during the 2010-11 Ashes series just as Sydney-born Harris was starting to fulfil his potential.
When he took nine wickets at Perth to help level the series, it seemed Australia had unearthed a real gem.
But Harris suffered a stress fracture to his left ankle in the fourth Test in Melbourne, England went on to win the series 3-1 and the pace bowler has never quite been able to shake off the injury-prone tag.