Bresnan salutes miserly England
Tim Bresnan hailed England’s collective bowling display as they limited Australia to 134 for four on day one of the final Ashes Test.
With the urn retained, the tourists avoided complacency to put in a disciplined performance at the SCG.
Bresnan, who took 2-47 in 16 overs of the 59 possible on a rain-reduced day, was particularly pleased with England’s economy in a full first session.
“A good day for us really. We bowled really well,” he summed up.
“First session, 50 for one, the wicket right on the last ball there. You can’t really argue with that. We bowled really well as a unit again. We kept them under the pump.”
Bresnan also recognised Australia’s resilience before lunch, with the naturally attacking Shane Watson and Phil Hughes reining their instincts in.
“They played really, really well this morning - especially with it moving as it was,” he said.
“All credit to them and how they played - especially Watson. He left well, and he played it on his eyes - which is a very English way of playing.
“But we bowled really well in the first session ... made them play in a way they are probably not used to ... forced them to play in their shells a little bit.
“A lot went past the bat, and we got inside-edges on to pads - so although they played really well, we were unlucky not to have them more down.”
Bresnan, who at just under three an over was the most expensive bowler, pinpointed personal improvement.
However, he revealed his satisfaction at forcing a mistake from Watson, having dried up the runs in tandem with Paul Collingwood.
“If I have any qualms about my own bowling, I think I’m for slightly too many runs,” he admitted.
“Just a couple of bad balls and three or four good shots and the other one squirts down third man, but sometimes that happens.
“I bowled a couple of good overs at him, we backed up well - me and ‘Colly’. I think we bowled three or four maidens on the bounce there and then obviously the wicket, that’s what we’re striving for.”
Bresnan’s other victim was stand-in captain Michael Clarke, whose poor series with the bat continued when he edged to first slip.
“It might have just bounced a touch on him, and he got the edge not where he wanted to play it,” the bowler sympathised.
“He’s still a quality player. We respect him highly - he’s just been a bit unlucky.”
Bresnan was also unfortunate in ending up on the floor as he collided with Kevin Pietersen while celebrating Clarke’s downfall.
“If I’m brutally honest it’s all Kev’s fault,” Bresnan joked. “He’s given me a high-five, then run straight across me - and we got our legs tangled up.
“I went down quite hard. It looked quite funny on the replay, but more embarrassment than anything luckily.”
Bresnan was surprised Clarke chose to bat first first in unusually overcast conditions for Sydney.
“We were definitely pleased [as bowlers] with the first use of that pitch,” he added. “I think we were going to bowl first anyway, the way it looked and the overhead conditions.
“We bowled well and we got our rewards, so why shouldn’t it be like that? It’s always good to get the first punch in, and I think we certainly did get the first punch in.”
Asked if this SCG pitch reminded him of Headingley, the Yorkshireman made it clear he hardly sees that venue as a bowlers’ paradise.
“There’s a massive misconception about Headingley,” he said.
“It doesn’t matter what the weather’s doing. The Test pitch does a bit, but the county pitches don’t do a great deal - no matter how hard we beg for one with a bit of grass on. But I think these were very English conditions we got today.”
England met resistance in debutant number three Usman Khawaja, who made an impressive 37 before falling to what turned out to be the last ball of the day.
Bresnan briefly bowled at him in the tour match against Australia A, immediately prior to the Test series, but the left-hander occupied the crease for significantly longer today.
“We’ve seen more of him today than in any of the digs in Hobart, so we refined our plans a little bit. He looks a good player,” Bresnan said. “Everyone’s got their weaknesses, we’ll just have to find his.”
Bresnan revealed England’s plan of bowling an off-stump line at Khawaja is no different to those for the majority of the hosts’ other batsmen.
“That’s where we’re looking to bowl at most of these guys,” he concluded. “It’s a patience game and if you stick in the areas that we’ve been bowling, you’re going to get rewards.”