Ian Bell: I've got myself out twice but the aggression is a tactic and I'm sticking to my principles
View From the Middle: Getting yourself out is the hardest thing to deal with. It is frustrating
There has been some criticism of the pitches for the first two Tests. I do not necessarily agree with it. Now being a batsman, I might say that but I have played around the world a couple of times now in Test cricket and part of its beauty is playing in different conditions. At home you have some control over what you play on, when you come away you do not.
To become a top player in the world, to become a top team in the world you have to be adaptable to all conditions. When you go to India you are not expecting to have a green seamer and here I don't expect them to produce anything that would help our seam bowlers or probably our batters, who like a bit more pace on the ball. Why wouldn't they tailor the wickets maybe a little bit to being slower and lower, making the game a little more scrappy?
New Zealand have been quite smart with that. They have good field placings in front of the bat and they have tactically done some good stuff. I don't think the surfaces have been absolutely terrible because I'm pretty sure there would have been two results without rain.
They have been flat wickets but I'm certain when people come to England and see there might have been a little bit of extra grass left on they might suppose it is good for England but not for world cricket.
When you go to Australia or South Africa, generally you play on wickets that help anyone. Bend your back and hit the right spot and you will get results. Occupy the crease you'll get runs. Maybe these are a bit slow but we can't simply expect to play on surfaces that suit our style.
In two of my three innings I've got myself out. I feel like there is something round the corner but I have been caught at cover and mid-off. It is frustrating. In Wellington I had a game plan and it was time to kick on. In that position the thing to do was show a bit of intent.
What you're looking for is to get the boundary, then see them push mid-on and mid-off back and start milking the ball. If you play the aggressive shot well you're off and running. You move to fifth gear and then back to second again, one, one, one.
Getting yourself out is the hardest thing to deal with but the one thing you have to do is stick to your principles.
I have had a good chat about this with Mark Bawden, the squad psychologist, and other batsmen as well. If one of your strong shots is the cut, for instance, and you get out to it, you can't stop cutting. When you're looking to score runs there is a risk element.
You judge yourself on how many runs you have got but you have to judge yourself on your processes as well. You might score a hundred and know you were terrible but you can make a good 20 with everything right and then someone gets you out.
In my early career I would say I definitely got myself out too often. In the last three years I don't think I have but on this trip I haven't been knocked over properly yet and that is annoying.
You are obviously going to make the odd mistake and going into a big series like we have coming up you want to train your technique to cut out mistakes. Try and limit the errors as Graham Gooch always talks about. There is a danger of trying to make sure you peak for a big series like the Ashes, like an Olympic athlete peaking every four years. But the important thing really is to play day by day, ball by ball. When we have done that we have got really good results.
I guess if you got three ducks and then a hundred against Australia in that first Test at Trent Bridge you might take that. But you should never forget that you put yourself in a good place by winning Test matches at all times. We have not played to the level we are capable of yet. It would be wonderful to produce that now.