England’s bid to retain the Ashes in Manchester this week suffered the reality check paceman Tim Bresnan said they were expecting on the opening day of the third Investec Test yesterday.
Australia may be 2-0 down in a series they must win to regain the little urn but produced arguably their best day since arriving on these shores, led by skipper Michael Clarke’s 24th Test century.
Clarke put the heat on his misfiring batsman to resurrect their hopes on the eve of the match and after closing today on 303 for three they were well on course to winning back any lost goodwill.
Bresnan revealed afterwards that his side had expected Australia’s fight back, especially after they won the toss on a batsman-friendly pitch and in hot conditions.
“We were expecting a fight. I think every time you play against Australia you expect them to fight hard,” Bresnan said.
“Their backs were against the wall, so why wouldn’t they push even harder back?
“We were expecting something like this. It’s up to us now to counter-act that.”
England were hardly impotent despite Australia’s progress, with their quicks beating the bat on a number of occasions. They could also feel aggrieved at the Decision Review System - which came under further scrutiny today - after Steven Smith (70no)twice survived marginal reviews.
Bresnan admitted that removing Clarke early today would be crucial after the Australia skipper batted supremely today for his 125.
“Hopefully we get him for not many more. Have you got any tips?” he said. “He’s identified it’s probably a batting day, and got stuck in there.”