The Ashes: Graeme Swann puts some positive spin on Tim Bresnan's blunder

 

Old Trafford

Graeme Swann defended his team-mate Tim Bresnan's poor use of technology and insisted the mistake was not enough to dent England's chances of sealing the Ashes with victory here.

Australia find themselves in a powerful position after Bresnan, who was sent in as nightwatchman, made the bizarre decision not to review when he was given out caught behind off Peter Siddle – even though replays showed he had not hit the ball.

Bresnan's dismissal, and that of Joe Root, left England 52 for 2 at the close, still needing 276 more runs to avoid the follow-on after Australia posted 527 for 7 declared in their first innings.

Alastair Cook, 36 not out overnight, also took painkillers to ease the discomfort caused by a stiff back. "We can get a lead and bowl them out," insisted Swann, who finished with 5 for 159. "We shouldn't approach it thinking that we're in jeopardy.

"We've lost only two wickets in our first innings and we've got some of the best batsmen in the world in our team. Australia are in a good position but I wouldn't say they were in an ideal position to win the Test.

"We're happy with our line-up, and both Jonathan Trott and Alastair Cook are due big scores. The aim is to go past them and then see what happens on days four and five.

"As for Tim Bresnan, he thought he hit it. Some batsmen genuinely don't know whether they have hit it or not. It's one of those things, and he couldn't believe the replay when he saw it. He said he heard a noise and assumed it was a bottom edge."

The Australia captain, Michael Clarke, who was standing at second slip, admitted his surprise at the Bresnan incident. "I was quite thankful he didn't review it, and I don't think we would have reviewed it either," said Clarke, who made an Ashes-best 187. "When you appeal you think it's out, but there was probably enough doubt there for us not to have reviewed it had it been given not out. Fortunately, we got one that went our way, which is very nice."

Yet the Australians also had a curious moment of their own with the Decision Review System. David Warner chose to refer even though he clearly edged a delivery from Swann through to Matt Prior.

There was general incredulity when the batsman requested a second opinion. "It was quite funny," Swann admitted. "He didn't think he'd hit it and said so straightaway, but it seemed so blatant and we couldn't believe it."

Clarke was batting with Warner and added: "I thought he hit it but if you see the replay, Davey hit his pad at the same time. We disagreed, but I told him I'd back his judgement 100 per cent. If the batter feels he didn't hit the ball, his partner should back his judgement."

Ryan Harris is also expected to be fit to bowl today despite suffering from a stomach bug. Clarke continued: "We should be proud of the position we're in. We've copped a bit of criticism, and rightly so, but the way everyone did their job is a credit to the boys.

"We've worked very hard in the lead-up to this game and it's nice for everyone to get a result, but there is still a lot of hard work to do and if we don't win this game, it will all be irrelevant. We have to win this Test and the next two."

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