Ian Bell, the England and Warwickshire batsman, says the experiment of elevating Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen up the batting order will pay dividends in the end.

England suffered their second heavy defeat of the Champions’ Trophy in Jaipur on Saturday, losing to Australia by six wickets in the 36th over after once again failing to bat for 50 overs.

After Bell (43) and Andrew Strauss (56) had built an opening stand of 83, England collapsed to 169 all out with Pietersen scoring only one and Flintoff four. But Bell is confident England’s big-hitting duo will come good in time for the World Cup in the West Indies in March.

He said: "The batting hasn’t really fired. In terms of the World Cup, it is definitely worth the experience because wickets out in the West Indies will be very similar to here in India.

"Any time they can get up the order, it’s great for us as a team. It has given them the experience and the confidence to do that. At times, we have got to get our big hitters and our best players in. I am all for it."

But England have won only three of their 17 one-day internationals this year and time is short before the World Cup. Having lost their opening Champions’ Trophy match to India, they are unlikely to qualify from the group stages, even if they beat the West Indies on Saturday.

England would then have a maximum of 11 matches in the tri-nation one-day series, which follows the five-Test Ashes series and also includes New Zealand, to prepare for the World Cup.

Bell said: "It didn’t quite go to plan yesterday [Saturday]. That’s how it has gone in the last two games, we haven’t scored enough runs which has caused the problems.

"We have gone in with the right gameplans but we just haven’t gone out there and achieved it.

"In one-day cricket, if you don’t bat your 50 overs through, you will be in trouble. We have fallen short twice now. That is a major problem."

But Bell says Australia have not struck any kind of psychological blow before the Ashes series. "As a unit, the team spirit has been great," he said. "We really enjoy the fact we are out here and training hard with a big and exciting winter ahead.

"Fred (Flintoff) will be fully ready for the Ashes and the same with Harmy (Steve Harmison). They have had a bit of time off and are big-match players and they will be ready in Australia."

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