Bell went 31 innings against Australia before reaching three figures for the first time - in Sydney two years ago - but after Sunday's unbeaten century he has now scored four in his past five Ashes Tests.
After England shot out Australia's last five batsmen in 75 minutes on Sunday morning - to concede only a 32-run first-innings deficit - Bell set about his now familiar role of grinding his side into a position of control.
The right-hander finished unbeaten on 105 to ensure a total of 234 for five at stumps on day three of the fourth Investec Test.
That represented a lead of 202 that had seemed outside of reasonable grasp when Bell strode to the crease with England three down and just 17 in front.
But Bell, who acknowledged he is in the form of his life, turned the tide, initially in a critical 106-run stand with Kevin Pietersen, before reaching his 20th Test hundred 10 minutes before the close.
With England 2-0 ahead in the five-Test series it meant Bell - once the butt of Australia leg-spinner Shane Warne's 'Sherminator' jibes - had again set his side on path for a series-clinching success.
And the 31-year-old admitted those early tough days against the likes of Warne, Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee had steeled him for the success he is achieving now.
"It's been enjoyable this time to score some hundreds and maybe put to bed some of the stuff I have done in the past," he said.
"I believed that I was good enough to score Test hundreds against Australia but it did take a while.
"My first two series were against arguably one of the best teams of all time.
"As a young player that was a real baptism. I learnt a lot from some great players."
Bell denied, however, that he had contemplated whether he was in the midst of a career-defining series - after today's innings made his just the third Englishman to score a third Ashes hundred in a home campaign.
"I haven't thought of it like that. It's just nice to contribute," he said.
"For us as a group we want to win the Ashes. We've done decently so far and tomorrow is a massive day for us.
"I haven't thought too much about that. There will be time to think about that when I've finished my cricket."
Despite England's position Bell warned that his side still faced a scrap - highlighting Australia's comeback in the first Test at Trent Bridge as proof.
In that Test England also conceded a first-innings lead before a Bell century helped them set a victory target of 311 that Australia fell only 15 runs short of.
"Not yet," he cautioned. "Those 200 runs - I'd rather have them on the board than be chasing them, but we've seen already with Australia that they will go all the way.
"That Trent Bridge pitch didn't deteriorate like we thought, and this might be similar. If we start getting a lead over 300 I'll feel a little more confident, but they will keep coming at us, and some of their batsmen are in a bit of form now. It will be a scrap over the next two days."
Bell did concede though that the Chester-le-Street wicket, which appeared to ease a little today, was showing some sign of unreliability.
"There's some uneven bounce. It's a new-ball wicket," he said.
"When the ball gets soft it is harder to score. It doesn't always jag around like you think but there's always a decent delivery in there.
"If you don't put the ball in the right area there are still runs to be had there, so our bowlers will be looking to hit the top of off stump and then hoping the odd ball will do something."
Australia quick Ryan Harris had made the initial inroads into England, starting with a vicious leg-cutter that located the top of Joe Root's off stump.
Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott quickly followed and while Bell set in thereafter, Harris denied the game had gone beyond their grasp.
"I wouldn't say it's slipped away," he said.
"Five for 200, virtually, we just need to get those wickets as early as we can in the morning and bat well.
"If we bat well and chase, hopefully, 250 to 300, the wicket is holding together pretty well. It might spin a little bit, the ball is going through nicely. I think it's evenly poised to be honest."
Australia's hopes could be damaged though by an injury to Shane Watson, who limped off halfway through the evening session with a groin strain.
The all-rounder was due to be assessed overnight with Harris reporting the "injury was not as first feared".