Bresnan backs England to come good
Tim Bresnan expects England’s character to come to the fore at Lord’s as they defend their number one Test ranking.
The hosts know anything less than victory in the third and final Investec Test will see opponents South Africa usurp them as the world’s leading five-day side.
Rather than being cowed by the prospect of losing top spot, Bresnan is confident England will rise to the challenge.
“When our backs are against the wall we tend to come up with the goods. That’s why we’ve made it to number one in the world, so I’m expecting to win this game,” the Yorkshire all-rounder told ecb.co.uk.
England’s seamers have been forced to work hard for much of this rubber, with a combination of unresponsive pitches and excellent batting from South Africa making life tough.
Nevertheless, Bresnan is encouraged by the improvement in evidence during the second Test at Headingley Carnegie, after England had taken just two wickets in the series-opener at the Kia Oval.
“The Oval just offered us nothing for three days,” Bresnan added.
“There was slightly more in it at Headingley; I thought we bowled really well without a lot of luck, but that’s taking no credit away from South Africa and the way they’ve played. Their batsmen dig in and get big runs if they do get in, so all credit to them.
“If we bowl the same as we did at Headingley this week, and hopefully with a bit more luck, we’ll get our rewards.”
Another member of England’s pace bowling unit, albeit one who has yet to feature in this series, feels the Lord’s slope could well prove significant this week.
Durham’s Graham Onions has claimed 10 of his 32 Test wickets at the home of cricket and would relish the opportunity to add to that tally.
“You have to prepare as though you’re going to play,” said Onions. “If I get the nod then it would be great, but if I don’t then that’s fine as well; I’ll be backing the lads.
“Pretty much everyone now (in England’s squad) has played here at Lord’s. I suppose even when it is really flat and the ball’s doing very little, then at least you’ve got something to work with.
“If the slope wasn’t there, it could be very hard work. Swanny (Graeme Swann) can obviously run it down the slope, or turn it up the slope as well – it always keeps you interested as a bowler.”
Onions is well aware of how significant an England victory in the capital would be.
“Obviously, we need to have a win; we need all the support we can get so we’re encouraging all the supporters to come along and support us.
“It’s going to be a great finish to the series. South Africa are a fantastic side, but fingers crossed we can get the better of them in this Test match.”