Owais Shah helped give England's bowlers something to defend by scoring 63 in a total of 245 all out against New Zealand in the fourth one-day international at The Oval here Wednesday.
England were struggling at 101 for four before a fifth-wicket stand of 75 between Ravi Bopara (58) and Shah revived the innings.
Teenage pace bowler Tim Southee was the pick of New Zealand's attack with three for 47 in 10 overs.
Middlesex batsman Shah, who made a rapid 49 in England's 114-run win in the first match of this series, was run out going for a second when he failed to beat Mark Gillespie's direct hit from long-off.
England, after a steady start which saw Bell carve Gillespie for six, lost two wickets for three runs in the space of five balls.
Luke Wright was brilliantly caught by a diving Ross Taylor at short mid-wicket off a powerful pull.
And the Black Caps, who'd won the toss, then reduced England to 44 for two when they captured the key wicket of Kevin Pietersen for nought.
The star batsman tried to pull a good length ball from Gillespie but toe-ended a simple catch to Southee at mid-on.
There is a theory that if Pietersen gets out cheaply, England struggle.
It certainly proved true during Saturday's third one-dayer at Bristol where Pietersen was out for four in a match New Zealand won by 22 runs to level the series at 1-1.
Bell, however, was batting well. But after a stand of 37 with Bopara he got himself out on 46.
Trying to run the ball to third man, he gave wicket-keeper Brendon McCullum an easy catch off Southee.
And it was not long before 81 for three became 101 for four when England captain Paul Collingwood was bowled off an inside edge by Southee.
Shah though struck sixes over mid-wicket off Southee and New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori, the left-arm spinner launched high over long-off.
Bopara whose fifty came off 69 balls, couldn't press on. He was out when a checked drive off a slower ball in Gillespie's comeback over gave all-rounder Jacob Oram, fit after a hamstring problem, a simple catch at mid-on.
Shah's fifty was quicker, off 63 balls with two sixes and three fours.
But the biggest problem he then faced was the inability of a batsman to stay with him. His exit was part of a sequence which saw England lose three wickets in three overs for nine runs.