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Opportunities knock

Bresnan, like Tremlett, has grabbed his chance superbly, says Bob

Bob Willis Posted 28th December 2010 view comments

Through clenched teeth Shane Watson had little option but to praise England's bowlers after Australia all but surrendered the Ashes in Melbourne.

The opener admitted at stumps that facing Chris Tremlett and Tim Bresnan has been a real challenge in this fourth Test; high praise indeed.

With Australia 246 runs in arrears and only four wickets in the bank he could barely say otherwise and it must have been sickening for him to go out and do that interview.

Wat a delivery: Bresnan celebrates after dismissing Shane Watson lbw for 54

Wat a delivery: Bresnan celebrates after dismissing Shane Watson lbw for 54

With two days still remaining I can only echo his thoughts on England's attack.

When one bowler has not quite been at his peak others have stepped up to ensure the Aussie batsmen haven't enjoyed a break.

They've been under constant pressure at the crease and while England would have preferred to wrap up this Test, and thereby retain the Ashes, inside three days they surely now won't have to wait much longer to achieve that aim.


England have dominated this Test even though they probably should have scored more than 513 in their first innings and even though things didn't pan out for them with the new ball second time around.

Bresnan's ability to swing the ball conventionally as well as reverse swing it means that his accuracy is allied to tremendous subtlety - batsmen can never be quite certain how much the ball is going to do when he has it in his hand.

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But crucially they found some reverse swing and the inclusion of Yorkshire's Bresnan at Steve Finn's expense could barely have worked out better for the selectors.

We saw how fine a competitor Bresnan is in Bangladesh earlier this year when he out-bowled everybody on the world's flattest pitches and once again he didn't let anybody down, his spell of three wickets for two runs in 18 balls after tea being the highlight of the day.

The term 'horses for courses' was used when Bresnan was selected and the pitch could have been a replica of Headingley on the first day as there was live, green grass on the surface and we had overcast skies above to boot.

If anyone knows how to bowl in those particular conditions, it is Bresnan and he is not the sort of bowler who sprays it around.

His ability to swing the ball conventionally as well as reverse swing it means that his accuracy is allied to tremendous subtlety - batsmen can never be quite certain how much the ball is going to do when he has it in his hand, which makes him a very valuable member of this squad.


He, just like Tremlett, has grabbed his opportunity when it has come and that is the hallmark of any successful side - including the England side that last retained the Ashes in Australia, in 1986/87, when Gladstone Small performed so well as a replacement for the injured Graham Dilley.

One can only spare a thought for Eoin Morgan and Steve Davies, who must be desperate to get out there and play a part in this tremendous series.

For people of the calibre of Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke to have failed consistently in this series doesn't necessarily point to a lack of form; it means the opposition bowlers are at the peak of their powers and haven't allowed them to play well.

Watson tried to look at Australia's plight positively, saying that even if they do lose the Ashes tomorrow they still have pride to play for in the remainder of the series - something of an English stock phrase over the years.

He comes over as a very genuine guy and I admire his spirit. But this isn't an England side that will settle for a 2-2 draw. Australia have been outplayed here and they'll have their work cut out again in Sydney.

Comments (6)

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John Jones says...

My gran could have bowled this shower out.Steve Snith wouldnt get in my subbuteo team.Reckon the Aussie selectors must have had a punt on england before the series as some of their picks have been a joke.worst australian team i have ever seen.There again at least they are all australians.Would england have won i 05 09 and now without the contributions of Trott and Pietersen.Me thinks not,

Posted 19:25 28th December 2010

Bj Doherty says...

Alongside the phenomenal seam attack we have currently, dont forget the spinners. Swann currently the worlds best spinner, in his Shadow is Monty who will have no doubt have improved beyond his best that we last saw in a test jersey. And we really cannot forget Adil Raschid, that lad could easily go in as a number 6 batsman, nevermind 7, and he cant half give the ball a tweak as well.

Posted 17:16 28th December 2010

Paul Hay says...

although the bowlers have being outstanding for most of the series so far, i think it for the first time in years we went into this ashes series beliving that as a squad we were better than the aussies. every one to a man [including colly in the field] have done their bit. the aussies knew deep down that this ashes would be tough, and their interviews reflect this.

Posted 17:13 28th December 2010

Lee Mangan says...

@ David Mckeown The statistics tell us you missed our best bowler from your list...half decent off spinner?

Posted 16:00 28th December 2010

David Mckeown says...

Yep , the bowling attack is all important. We've got strength in depth now. I'd say Anderson , Broad and a fit Onions are our top three.... Then Finn , Tremlett and Bresnan , with Shahzad and Woakes ready to step up behind them. Sure I've missed someone but you'll have your own favourites.

Posted 14:18 28th December 2010

Glynn Banks says...

Just shows how important a strong bowling attack is. We had that in 2005 in England, and now we have it again, couple that with a batting side that has scored over 500 runs three times in this series, and we have almost the perfect team. I,m especially pleased for Bresnan, being a Yorkshireman and also watching Bresnan as an under 15 player, It's fantastic to see. I,ll be cheering them on later this evening. I was at the MCG 4 years ago to witness a very poor England team getting a drubbing. Wish I was there again to give it to the back to the Aussies.

Posted 11:31 28th December 2010

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