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May 28, 2012
Tim Bresnan collected his first man-of-the-match award in Test cricket after England's series-clinching victory at Trent Bridge extended his 100 per cent record in Tests to 13 and drew attention to a statistical record that bears comparison with the most distinguished allrounders in England's Test history.
As he took the award, he made light of the fact that, for all his unblemished Test record, he remains one of England's most unsung performers. Even while he assembled a match return of 8 for 141 against West Indies, and added a stalwart 39 with the bat at a vital stage of the game for good measure, his selection ahead of Steve Finn was being openly debated.
"Every time you play you always have someone over your shoulder," Bresnan said on Sky TV. "I just want to continue to improve and to make a difference on the field. We have a fantastic crop of seam bowlers and it is great that the competition helps you perform."
One of the most startling facts about Bresnan is that his allround record is now markedly superior - albeit in a much shorter period of time - to England's most celebrated allrounder of the past 25 years, Andrew Flintoff.
Bresnan's Test bowling average is 25.46 compared to Flintoff's 32.78 and his batting average is now 40.22, well above Flintoff's 32.78.
He even measures up statistically against no lesser figure than Ian Botham, who returned a batting average of 33.54 and bowling average of 28.40.
David Saker, England's bowling coach, said: "I have always been really impressed by him every time he plays for us. He always contributes in some way. He is a great person for our group. He is a likeable lad and you know what you are going to get."
Saker acknowledged that England will give serious consideration to resting a pace bowler, most probably James Anderson in the final Test at Edgbaston, which begins next Thursday.
"If there is an opportunity that comes up we may do it," he said. "We are very mindful of it but they are very proud cricketers and they don't want to give up a spot to someone else. It is a massive luxury to have two great bowlers such as Steve Finn and Graham Onions on the sidelines and we also have Chris Tremlett coming back from injury."
Andrew Strauss, who like Marlon Samuels must have been in contention for the man-of-the-match award, also has a 100 per cent record - he has won every home series as England captain.
"We are going to have to take stock and see how the bowlers are feeling, how fresh they are, and then make a decision what the best side is," he said. "There is obviously some benefit in having a look at some other bowlers but that doesn't mean we are going to do it. It depends on how our other bowlers are feeling. Firsts and foremost we want to win the Test match"
Darren Sammy, West Indies' captain, was left to lament the usual failings. "We have to be more focused and put a higher price on our wickets. We did really well to get ourselves back in the game. The bowlers fought back and we have to appreciate what they do.
"It has been affecting us in the past year. We still managed to keep ourselves in the game but we are playing like this and we are not learning. Something has to be done. Coach Gibson has only been here for less than three years. We have been like this for 15 years. The supporters have been patient for a long time."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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