England v West Indies, 2nd Test, Trent Bridge, 3rd day May 27, 2012

Bresnan battles but Bairstow struggles

England are on course to win the second Test after a day of contrasting fortunes for their two Yorkshiremen
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Maybe they did not achieve domination in the manner they had planned but, by stumps at Trent Bridge, England had taken what will surely prove an unassailable grip on this match and this series. While Plan A - to amass an imposing first innings lead and bat once in the game - had to be abandoned, Plan B - to dismiss West Indies cheaply in their second innings - has been well executed.

There is some hope for West Indies. Not only do both first innings centurions remain unbeaten, but the tourists can take some encouragement in the performance of their three seamers earlier in the day. On a pitch offering them little, they performed admirably to restrict England's lead to 58. While their top-order batting remains so brittle, however, this team will rarely take advantage of their bowling prowess.

Perhaps the most heartening aspect of this performance from an England perspective has been the performance of Tim Bresnan. The selection of the 27-year-old Yorkshireman as third seamer was one of the few talking points going into this Test, with Steven Finn pushing hard for inclusion.

Here, however, Bresnan has provided another reminder of his undemonstrative all-round qualities. First, coming to the crease with his side still 34 in arrears and the new ball just 11 overs old, Bresnan helped England manufacture a lead of 58 in what he called a "battling" two-and-a-half hours at the crease, before he demonstrated his ability to reverse-swing the ball in a spell of three wickets for nine runs in 26 deliveries that drove another nail into the coffin of West Indies' hopes.

Bresnan bristles at the suggestion that he is some sort of 'lucky mascot' for England. It suggests, after all, that it is something of a coincidence that the team have won all 12 of the Tests in which he has played.

It is not so. Bresnan has played a telling part in many of those results and deserves respect for that. He is not, perhaps, as 'box office' as Finn, whose extra pace renders him such an exciting sight, but reliability and consistency are just as valuable qualities and Bresnan fulfils the role, with bat and ball, that this team require. Finn may be frustrated for some time yet.

"I prefer being called a lucky charm to being called a mascot," Bresnan said afterwards. "Mascots dress in silly outfits and do flick-flacks on the side of the pitch.

"I thought I may as well have left my pads in the car at the start of the day. West Indies bowled really well and all credit to them. It wasn't what we expected with the bat, but we've come back strong with the ball. To get them 60 for six on that wicket is a phenomenal effort.

"I suppose I didn't have the best of games at Lord's. I do like to make a contribution in whatever capacity I can and I didn't really do that at Lord's. But I feel I've made a decent contribution here and made a difference to this game."

"It is too early to jump to conclusions about Bairstow's ability at this level. Roach, with his fast arm and skiddy delivery, has troubled the likes of Ricky Ponting in the past"

There is only one cloud on the horizon for England. Bresnan's Yorkshire colleague, Jonny Bairstow, endured a less happy day and appeared to be exposed by the pace and hostility of Kemar Roach. It was not so much the dismissal - Bairstow, hopping in anticipation of a short ball, spooned a simple catch off the leading edge to mid-on - that caused the concern, but the way in which he had played the previous deliveries. One had struck him on the glove; another on the chest. Bairstow looked deeply uncomfortable.

It is too early to jump to conclusions about Bairstow's ability at this level. This only his second Test, an experience sure to fill even the calmest head with nerves. More pertinently, he was also up against a fine and unusual bowler. Roach, with his fast arm and skiddy delivery, has troubled the likes of Ricky Ponting in the past. It is no disgrace to take time to adjust to such a proposition. Bairstow is only 22. He has time on his side.

But this pitch was slow. Certainly, if he is to enjoy a long Test career, he will come up against quicker bowlers on quicker wickets. You can be sure that, across the world, his discomfort will have been noted by Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and co. If Bairstow plays in the series against South Africa, he is sure to be tested by the short ball.

It would be simplistic to state that Bairstow is simply not used to bowlers of Roach's pace. He will have played with and against plenty of quick bowlers in county cricket over the last few years - Finn, Stuart Meaker, Steve Harmison, Sajid Mahmood, Tymal Mills, Graeme Napier, Chris Tremlett et al - but there have been whispers, even among members of the England Performance Programme, about his ability to deal with the short ball for a while. Indeed, only a few weeks ago he was troubled and then dismissed by Mills - a left-arm bowler of unusual pace - in the Championship match against Essex. Bairstow has scored only five first-class centuries and just two have come in the top division of the County Championship.

It is worth remembering that Bairstow was not England's first choice in this series. Had Ravi Bopara been fit, he would have played. But England, having moved on from Eoin Morgan and unsure whether James Taylor was ready, instead took a chance on Bairstow largely due to his encouraging displays in limited-overs internationals.

There is some logic in that selection. Bairstow has shown the England management that he has the character to thrive on the big occasion and fit in with the team environment. Those are important factors. It was a gamble, though. Test cricket has a habit of exposing even the smallest weakness and Roach's spell hinted that this opportunity may have come just a little early in Bairstow's career.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | May 29, 2012, 22:21 GMT

    @VillageBlacksmith/hammond - I actually think this poster is having a bit of light hearted fun rather than the sniping variey we usually get on here

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | May 28, 2012, 20:42 GMT

    @Giovaughn Wilson on (May 28 2012, 04:50 AM GMT) Maybe we could do a loan swap for Samuels

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | May 28, 2012, 20:40 GMT

    @Kate Claydon on (May 28 2012, 10:28 AM GMT) To me, the more I think about it the more I'm convinced that this is the right way to go. If we had a number 6 who was averaging mid 40s then it would be more of a dilemma. Nice to have a female fan commenting on here too.

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | May 28, 2012, 20:29 GMT

    @landl47 on (May 28 2012, 00:49 AM GMT) Bres is averaging better than any of our bowlers both with bat and ball. If Finn comes in we either have to drop Bres , Broad , Anderson or Swann - UNLESS we go 5/1/5.

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | May 28, 2012, 20:26 GMT

    @mcheckley on (May 28 2012, 08:52 AM GMT) Bres has better stats than Broad with both bat and ball. I'd say Bres is a better batsman personally

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | May 28, 2012, 20:24 GMT

    @MattyP1979 on (May 28 2012, 00:55 AM GMT) We were struggling to get 10 wkts in the 1st inns and against SA we might struggle to take 20 wkts with 4 bowlers. Just one counter question , what has whoever we have chosen as our number 6 batsman done in 2011/12? I really am struggling to think of a game changing contribution any of our number 6s have made. Maybe when we get a game changing contribution from our number 6 I'll change my views

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | May 28, 2012, 20:18 GMT

    @landl47 on (May 28 2012, 00:49 AM GMT) all the time we have been trying to get a number 6 who averages what a batsman is supposed to average and failed and Prior has been averaging that at 7. Surely - even in our winning summer of 2011 - Finn would have done more with the ball than Bopara and Morgan did with the bat. SA are going to be harder to dislodge with 4 bowlers as they have a better batting line up.To me if we have a number 7 or 8 who is averaging around the same as our number 6 (actually better) and it means we get another quality bowler in the side it's a no brainer

  • POSTED BY mrhamilton on | May 28, 2012, 15:59 GMT

    @Giovaughan, I think you must be in the minority to think Bresnan isnt worthy of his spot in the england team granted its early days but his record over the last dozen test is fantastic and makes him one of the very best allrounders in the world and some 1 who really contributes to getting a result.Sure he is around great players and that makes a difference as someone like sammy who isnt and has tehg extra pressure thus. Finally i think u should add Pakistan along with South Africa as the test teams he wouldnt get into as a bowler, Im sure the aussies would love him tho.

  • POSTED BY Charlie101 on | May 28, 2012, 11:52 GMT

    Assuming we go 2 nil up the selectors should consider resting Bell or Pieterson and trying one of the Lions ( Carberry , Compton or Taylor ) at number 5 . South African bowling attack is awesome and we will need a number 6 performing and hitting runs.The contenders at the moment are Bairstow and Bopara as the 3 Lions are untried at Test level. If Bairstow hits runs at number 6 in the 3rd test , the place is his but if Roach gets him cheaply again he can not be considered against SA with Steyn etc.

  • POSTED BY Newbury_1 on | May 28, 2012, 11:23 GMT

    Everyone is entitled to an opinion.....but quite frankly as long as we win i dont mind who is picked, but for the moment if it isnt broke.........

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | May 29, 2012, 22:21 GMT

    @VillageBlacksmith/hammond - I actually think this poster is having a bit of light hearted fun rather than the sniping variey we usually get on here

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | May 28, 2012, 20:42 GMT

    @Giovaughn Wilson on (May 28 2012, 04:50 AM GMT) Maybe we could do a loan swap for Samuels

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | May 28, 2012, 20:40 GMT

    @Kate Claydon on (May 28 2012, 10:28 AM GMT) To me, the more I think about it the more I'm convinced that this is the right way to go. If we had a number 6 who was averaging mid 40s then it would be more of a dilemma. Nice to have a female fan commenting on here too.

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | May 28, 2012, 20:29 GMT

    @landl47 on (May 28 2012, 00:49 AM GMT) Bres is averaging better than any of our bowlers both with bat and ball. If Finn comes in we either have to drop Bres , Broad , Anderson or Swann - UNLESS we go 5/1/5.

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | May 28, 2012, 20:26 GMT

    @mcheckley on (May 28 2012, 08:52 AM GMT) Bres has better stats than Broad with both bat and ball. I'd say Bres is a better batsman personally

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | May 28, 2012, 20:24 GMT

    @MattyP1979 on (May 28 2012, 00:55 AM GMT) We were struggling to get 10 wkts in the 1st inns and against SA we might struggle to take 20 wkts with 4 bowlers. Just one counter question , what has whoever we have chosen as our number 6 batsman done in 2011/12? I really am struggling to think of a game changing contribution any of our number 6s have made. Maybe when we get a game changing contribution from our number 6 I'll change my views

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | May 28, 2012, 20:18 GMT

    @landl47 on (May 28 2012, 00:49 AM GMT) all the time we have been trying to get a number 6 who averages what a batsman is supposed to average and failed and Prior has been averaging that at 7. Surely - even in our winning summer of 2011 - Finn would have done more with the ball than Bopara and Morgan did with the bat. SA are going to be harder to dislodge with 4 bowlers as they have a better batting line up.To me if we have a number 7 or 8 who is averaging around the same as our number 6 (actually better) and it means we get another quality bowler in the side it's a no brainer

  • POSTED BY mrhamilton on | May 28, 2012, 15:59 GMT

    @Giovaughan, I think you must be in the minority to think Bresnan isnt worthy of his spot in the england team granted its early days but his record over the last dozen test is fantastic and makes him one of the very best allrounders in the world and some 1 who really contributes to getting a result.Sure he is around great players and that makes a difference as someone like sammy who isnt and has tehg extra pressure thus. Finally i think u should add Pakistan along with South Africa as the test teams he wouldnt get into as a bowler, Im sure the aussies would love him tho.

  • POSTED BY Charlie101 on | May 28, 2012, 11:52 GMT

    Assuming we go 2 nil up the selectors should consider resting Bell or Pieterson and trying one of the Lions ( Carberry , Compton or Taylor ) at number 5 . South African bowling attack is awesome and we will need a number 6 performing and hitting runs.The contenders at the moment are Bairstow and Bopara as the 3 Lions are untried at Test level. If Bairstow hits runs at number 6 in the 3rd test , the place is his but if Roach gets him cheaply again he can not be considered against SA with Steyn etc.

  • POSTED BY Newbury_1 on | May 28, 2012, 11:23 GMT

    Everyone is entitled to an opinion.....but quite frankly as long as we win i dont mind who is picked, but for the moment if it isnt broke.........

  • POSTED BY on | May 28, 2012, 10:28 GMT

    I have always been a big fan of Tim Bresnan and for me when fit is a must pick in the current England side.

    The only problem for England over for the last 2/3 years has been the No. 6 'batting' position. I would guess that the stats would back this up.

    I think that England should seriously consider playing Finn next test and dropping Bairstow for several reasons.

    1. We are a strong all round team but our strength is in the bowling. Playing 5 bowlers Finn, Anderson, Broad, Bresnan and Swann will destroy any batting side. We can do this because with Prior at 6, Bres at 7 and Broad at 8 we still have a very solid batting line up.

    2. Swann isn't as effective as he was say 18 months ago and though he still remains the best spin bowler in the world maybe barring Vettori I think a good batting team, ie SA will be able to score well against out current 4 bowler attack.

    3. We cannot just keep leaving Finn 'on the bench' as he is going to be a very, very fine fast bowler.

  • POSTED BY RednWhiteArmy on | May 28, 2012, 10:09 GMT

    England are off on one of those devastating winning runs again!

  • POSTED BY VillageBlacksmith on | May 28, 2012, 9:49 GMT

    @hammond... best to ignore these types, it is a hangover from the Empire when Britain ruled the world, my friend was born in the Sudan, he's as English as warm beer, and if fans of the magnificent British way of life wish to choose Britain as their home, like the redoubtable Sir Geoffrey Trott, and wish to do the time to qualify... 'good on ya mate', as I believe they say in a former colony (where most of their former players would have been born ''overseas'', but don't let the facts get in the way of a good story eh Giovaughn, and haven't you got B Nash anyway?!) It says much more about the countries these people want to leave than it does about the country they want to come to and live, work, marry and settle down in surely?!

  • POSTED BY A_Vacant_Slip on | May 28, 2012, 9:35 GMT

    @Landl47 - agree - Finn has to play against South Africa. Bresnan can hold his place as an all-rounder. Pity about Bairstow - he is not ready. Steyn and the two new SA bowlers Phil and der will eat him for brekfast.

  • POSTED BY MrPontingToYou on | May 28, 2012, 9:16 GMT

    @ Hammond, lighten up man, I don't see where Giovaughn was having a dig, did you miss the lol, niether did he discredit Bresnan in any way. In fact what he said was spot on, Finn can claim a spot on almost any other test team at the moment, enjoy the riches, WI used to have bowlers like Wayne Daniel, and Sylvester Clarke on the bench, what they would give for men like that now.

  • POSTED BY mcheckley on | May 28, 2012, 8:52 GMT

    Bresnan and Broad are always going to get the nod in tight selectio decisions because they are such good BATSMEN. Broad, actually, is better, but Bresnan has more experience. England talk about not having an allrounder since Flintoff but Broad, the player who could have developed into the next "true" allrounder in the Botham mould has not been allowed to do so because he was elevated into the England team at such a young age, as a bowler, that his batting (and batting develops later than bowling in a young allrounder) has not had the opportunity to develop to its full potential by batting at 6 in county cricket. Bresnan came to the Test arena somewhat later in life with his all-round skills fully matured. Likewise Swann. All that said, players like Broad, Bresnan and Swann are invaluable in constructing a BALANCED TEAM, and England are very fortunate to have, at 8, 9 and 10, people who would comfortably bat at 5, 6 and 7 in a county side.

  • POSTED BY Hammond on | May 28, 2012, 8:39 GMT

    @ Giovaughn Wilson- in an article about Bresnan who was born in West Yorkshire you still manage to sneak a dig in about South Africans. Incredible. When will anyone give England any credit? If they hold the number one spot for 15 years? I think Bresnan is a terrific bower 44 test wickets at 26 and a batting average of 35? Incredible record. If he was an Australian he would be "the next big thing" but because he is English all you get are comments like yours. It isn't just a coincidence that every test he has played in so far has been a win for England. Just like this one will be.

  • POSTED BY Dashgar on | May 28, 2012, 6:27 GMT

    It's amazing that Bresnan is in the number 1 in the world, yet Sammy, a player with an almost identical skill set, is questioned in the number 8 team in the world. Bresnan is an ok player but he benefits greatly from the quality guys around him. I think England would be a much stronger side with a third genuine quick. Their bowling will be very light on against South Africa unless Bresnan gets back to bowling in the high 130s and 140s like he did vs Aus. Bowling at 125 he will be milked for hundreds in a day consistently by the South Africans.

  • POSTED BY on | May 28, 2012, 4:50 GMT

    I think Steven Finn should seriously consider moving to another country as he could walk into the bowling attack of any test playing country except maybe South Africa & Australia @ the moment. I dont see him maintaining a steady spot in the English seam attack anytime soon. We in the Caribbean for 1 wood be glad to take him. New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh & India i am sure wood not object too strongly either. If England can have so many foreign /South African born players in their team it wood not be unfair if they gave other teams a few players themselves! lol

  • POSTED BY YorkshirePudding on | May 28, 2012, 4:44 GMT

    @Godfrey Pieters, I think the WI's taking a 'sabbatical' would be the wrong move, and goes against evidence that they are competative, but generally lack experience and confidence in these situations, in the last 3 innings they've made 2 x 300+ scores, from positions where it didnt look like they would get to 250. The problem is that they have 3-5 bad sessions a game which costs them winning positions, the bowlers failed for 2 sessions in Englands first innings which let england get off to a flyer but then the pinned them backso that what looked like being a 250 run lead was actually a 58 run lead, the batsmen then failed mainly due to some good bowling, and a couple of rash shots (Chanderpaul).

  • POSTED BY GeorgeWBush on | May 28, 2012, 3:17 GMT

    I think Tim Bresnan is a significant part of this England team. I'm quite sure that despite the constant media suggestions that Steve Finn is going to take Bresnan's spot in the team, as far as Strauss and Flower are concerned, Bresnan is the third choice seamer and will keep that spot in the side unless he gets injured. I'm certain Strauss and Flower rate Bresnan highly as a bowler, not only because he tends to keep good control of the run rate, but he also has a lot more variation to offer than Finn does. Bresnan can bowl short and attack the Batsman if needed, has good command of reverse swing and has been excellent for England on flat batting tracks in both Austrailia and the sub continent. I don't thing Steve Finn is a close to getting an England test place as the media would have people believe. He needs to be playing more county cricket and getting a string of 5-fors for Middlesex this summer. He may be firmly established in the 1 day team but that is very different.

  • POSTED BY VillageBlacksmith on | May 28, 2012, 1:30 GMT

    Bresnan was innocuous and invisible at Lord's, Finn should have played and it would have been hard for Finny to do worse. Bresnan started here with a turgid leg bye 4 and didn't get much better. But got lucky, a yard either side and they would have been 4 and the WI batsmen picked out the often solitary fielder. His batting was solid this time (0 at Lord's), but that hardly makes up for his mid-70s mph Sammy style bowling. That will not trouble Amla, Smith, AB deV or even Boucher. Too early to tell re Bairstow, but agree with jmci and hope Roach tries it again and Bairstow passes the test, and on a shirtfront Bell again fails to live up to his billing. The other 8 are good players.

  • POSTED BY MattyP1979 on | May 28, 2012, 0:55 GMT

    As for suggestions we go to a 5 man attack its non-sense, pure over kill. Are we struggling to get 20 wickets anywhere let alone at home. No. I like the long tail approach and may well be needed against SA. Eng have only just started to hit their groove again after a few dissapointing games. Lets finish off the WI and continue to look forward.

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | May 28, 2012, 0:49 GMT

    Bresnan has made great contributions with the ball, but it's his batting that will ultimately decide how vital he is to England in the series against South Africa. Today's innings, coming at a critical time, was very important in his and England's future. If he can bat well enough to settle in at #7, then Finn can play. In my view, it's absolutely imperative that Finn plays against SA. His extra pace and bounce and his wicket-to-wicket style are variations which will keep South Africa's batsmen from getting too comfortable. If Bresnan continues to make runs, then that's the way to go. Bairstow is a very promising young cricketer, but his time is not yet.

  • POSTED BY MattyP1979 on | May 28, 2012, 0:31 GMT

    Bresnan is an underated cricketer which seems strange considering his avg both with bat and ball. Finn will get his chance when injuries occur, having strength in depth is crucial for the number 1 team in the world (ask India). This team is too good for WI, if they were at full strength they would still be beaten, the margins may be smaller however.

  • POSTED BY 2.14istherunrate on | May 27, 2012, 22:20 GMT

    The first part of the day was a severe disappointment given what had been foreshadowed by yesterday. However Strauss laid his hoodoo, even if he lost his fluency. KP, Belll and Prior were each pencilled in for a ton so their efforts were unimpressive- too much time in the nets before play? really they should try just a short bat before play so that they do not go in seeing the ball too well; then it is possible too shift up gears not down. Bairstow's innings made me think of Berlioz's Sympony Fantastique and Mme Guillotine's hideous laughing screechings. Sammy bowled to send the crowd to sleep. In the context of the disappointment, Bresnan and Broad's runs were critical though the lead was a quarter of what should have been. BUT all that was put right by the brilliant predatory bowling of the final session. The WI team of the '80's used to turn a lead of 50 into a winning position with ridiculous ease- this time the boot is on the other foot.

  • POSTED BY Newbury_1 on | May 27, 2012, 22:17 GMT

    Anyone want to discuss the merits of Bresnan now??

  • POSTED BY on | May 27, 2012, 22:08 GMT

    WI batting has passed serious problem stage to one of crisis. Our top order is making absolutely no sense. What is even more frightening is the fact that besides Gayle, we do not have any adequate replacements. Honestly speaking none of the all rounders in the IPL can bat 1-3. Since Gayle is not 2 keen on test cricket, then WHOM? After almost 45yrs of listening & watching WI cricket I would like to suggest that WI take a sabbatical ex test cricket & get itself better organized. This situation is hurting even the most die hard WI fans, not to mention the Int'l embarrassment. The ENG conditions separate the pros from the apprentices. The top order is just simply not ready. How Sad.

  • POSTED BY jmcilhinney on | May 27, 2012, 21:41 GMT

    I would have been happy with the selection of either Bresnan or Finn for the Test. For the second I was again happy enough to accept either, although I would have liked Finn to get a chance as well, not necessarily because I didn't think Bresnan deserved to be there but more because I think that they both do. I'd say that Bresnan is a nailed-on certainty for the third Test now though. As for Bairstow, I really hope that Roach and co come at him again in the third Test with some short deliveries and he will either sink or swim. It will give both him and the selectors a chance to determine whether he's up to the task for the SA series. We yet see Bopara back this summer, assuming that his injury has healed.

  • POSTED BY Patchmaster on | May 27, 2012, 21:34 GMT

    Prior surely has to bat at 6 - we don't need another batsman, with Bell, Prior, Bresnan - we have three guys who bat well in the lower order, plus Swann can handle a bat. We should have Finn in the side AS WELL as Bresnan. That attack would worry any batting side int he World.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • POSTED BY Patchmaster on | May 27, 2012, 21:34 GMT

    Prior surely has to bat at 6 - we don't need another batsman, with Bell, Prior, Bresnan - we have three guys who bat well in the lower order, plus Swann can handle a bat. We should have Finn in the side AS WELL as Bresnan. That attack would worry any batting side int he World.

  • POSTED BY jmcilhinney on | May 27, 2012, 21:41 GMT

    I would have been happy with the selection of either Bresnan or Finn for the Test. For the second I was again happy enough to accept either, although I would have liked Finn to get a chance as well, not necessarily because I didn't think Bresnan deserved to be there but more because I think that they both do. I'd say that Bresnan is a nailed-on certainty for the third Test now though. As for Bairstow, I really hope that Roach and co come at him again in the third Test with some short deliveries and he will either sink or swim. It will give both him and the selectors a chance to determine whether he's up to the task for the SA series. We yet see Bopara back this summer, assuming that his injury has healed.

  • POSTED BY on | May 27, 2012, 22:08 GMT

    WI batting has passed serious problem stage to one of crisis. Our top order is making absolutely no sense. What is even more frightening is the fact that besides Gayle, we do not have any adequate replacements. Honestly speaking none of the all rounders in the IPL can bat 1-3. Since Gayle is not 2 keen on test cricket, then WHOM? After almost 45yrs of listening & watching WI cricket I would like to suggest that WI take a sabbatical ex test cricket & get itself better organized. This situation is hurting even the most die hard WI fans, not to mention the Int'l embarrassment. The ENG conditions separate the pros from the apprentices. The top order is just simply not ready. How Sad.

  • POSTED BY Newbury_1 on | May 27, 2012, 22:17 GMT

    Anyone want to discuss the merits of Bresnan now??

  • POSTED BY 2.14istherunrate on | May 27, 2012, 22:20 GMT

    The first part of the day was a severe disappointment given what had been foreshadowed by yesterday. However Strauss laid his hoodoo, even if he lost his fluency. KP, Belll and Prior were each pencilled in for a ton so their efforts were unimpressive- too much time in the nets before play? really they should try just a short bat before play so that they do not go in seeing the ball too well; then it is possible too shift up gears not down. Bairstow's innings made me think of Berlioz's Sympony Fantastique and Mme Guillotine's hideous laughing screechings. Sammy bowled to send the crowd to sleep. In the context of the disappointment, Bresnan and Broad's runs were critical though the lead was a quarter of what should have been. BUT all that was put right by the brilliant predatory bowling of the final session. The WI team of the '80's used to turn a lead of 50 into a winning position with ridiculous ease- this time the boot is on the other foot.

  • POSTED BY MattyP1979 on | May 28, 2012, 0:31 GMT

    Bresnan is an underated cricketer which seems strange considering his avg both with bat and ball. Finn will get his chance when injuries occur, having strength in depth is crucial for the number 1 team in the world (ask India). This team is too good for WI, if they were at full strength they would still be beaten, the margins may be smaller however.

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | May 28, 2012, 0:49 GMT

    Bresnan has made great contributions with the ball, but it's his batting that will ultimately decide how vital he is to England in the series against South Africa. Today's innings, coming at a critical time, was very important in his and England's future. If he can bat well enough to settle in at #7, then Finn can play. In my view, it's absolutely imperative that Finn plays against SA. His extra pace and bounce and his wicket-to-wicket style are variations which will keep South Africa's batsmen from getting too comfortable. If Bresnan continues to make runs, then that's the way to go. Bairstow is a very promising young cricketer, but his time is not yet.

  • POSTED BY MattyP1979 on | May 28, 2012, 0:55 GMT

    As for suggestions we go to a 5 man attack its non-sense, pure over kill. Are we struggling to get 20 wickets anywhere let alone at home. No. I like the long tail approach and may well be needed against SA. Eng have only just started to hit their groove again after a few dissapointing games. Lets finish off the WI and continue to look forward.

  • POSTED BY VillageBlacksmith on | May 28, 2012, 1:30 GMT

    Bresnan was innocuous and invisible at Lord's, Finn should have played and it would have been hard for Finny to do worse. Bresnan started here with a turgid leg bye 4 and didn't get much better. But got lucky, a yard either side and they would have been 4 and the WI batsmen picked out the often solitary fielder. His batting was solid this time (0 at Lord's), but that hardly makes up for his mid-70s mph Sammy style bowling. That will not trouble Amla, Smith, AB deV or even Boucher. Too early to tell re Bairstow, but agree with jmci and hope Roach tries it again and Bairstow passes the test, and on a shirtfront Bell again fails to live up to his billing. The other 8 are good players.

  • POSTED BY GeorgeWBush on | May 28, 2012, 3:17 GMT

    I think Tim Bresnan is a significant part of this England team. I'm quite sure that despite the constant media suggestions that Steve Finn is going to take Bresnan's spot in the team, as far as Strauss and Flower are concerned, Bresnan is the third choice seamer and will keep that spot in the side unless he gets injured. I'm certain Strauss and Flower rate Bresnan highly as a bowler, not only because he tends to keep good control of the run rate, but he also has a lot more variation to offer than Finn does. Bresnan can bowl short and attack the Batsman if needed, has good command of reverse swing and has been excellent for England on flat batting tracks in both Austrailia and the sub continent. I don't thing Steve Finn is a close to getting an England test place as the media would have people believe. He needs to be playing more county cricket and getting a string of 5-fors for Middlesex this summer. He may be firmly established in the 1 day team but that is very different.