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Pietersen and Bell start to repair damage

Australia's Ryan Harris quickly took three wickets in the fourth Ashes test.

England's James Anderson (L) celebrates with team mates captain Alastair Cook (R) Nick Compton and keeper Matt Prior. Picture: AFP

DURHAM - Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell led an England recovery after Ryan Harris had threatened to put Australia in complete control of the fourth Ashes test in County Durham on Sunday.

Pietersen and Bell were both unbeaten on 37 as the home team reached tea on the third day on 123 for three, a lead of 91 runs.

The two batsmen repaired the earlier damage caused by Harris, who produced a fiery spell of fast bowling to account for Joe Root, Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott.

Root was the first man to go, clean bowled for two by a perfect delivery from Harris that pitched on middle before uprooting his off stump.

Captain Cook (22) followed his fellow opener back to the pavilion with the total on 42, playing a poor shot to a wide ball and feathering a catch behind to Brad Haddin.

Harris claimed his third victim seven runs later when Trott (23) gloved a short ball down the leg side and Haddin swooped for an athletic catch.

England were wobbling at that stage but Pietersen and Bell weathered the storm to share an unbroken partnership of 74 for the fourth wicket.

Pietersen went to tea in typically flamboyant style with two successive fours, a neat clip through mid-wicket followed by a crunching stroke through the covers.

Earlier, Australia added 48 runs to their overnight 222 for five before being bowled out for 270.

Opener Chris Rogers fell for 110 while Stuart Broad finished with figures of five for 71.

England lead the five-match series 2-0.