Tim Bresnan could afford a wide smile in the Sydney rain yesterday as he continued to make the most of his new home from home Down Under.
Bresnan added two more big wickets on day one of the final Test to the six he took in his first Test of the tour in Melbourne last week, as England restricted Australia to 134 for 4.
Bresnan bagged the opener Shane Watson and Australia's stand-in captain Michael Clarke, after the latter had made a perhaps marginal decision to bat first under heavy cloud cover.
Bresnan tests Australian resolve whatever the conditions, but was delighted with the ones which prevailed yesterday. Asked if the SCG pitch reminded him of Headingley, the Yorkshireman made it clear he hardly sees that venue as a bowlers' paradise.
"There's a massive misconception about Headingley," he said. "It doesn't matter what the weather's doing. The Test pitch does a bit, but the county pitches don't do a great deal – no matter how hard we beg for one with a bit of grass on. But I think these were very English conditions we got today."
Australia appeared programmed to take no risks on their way to 55 without loss, until Phil Hughes fenced an edge to third slip off Chris Tremlett from the last ball before lunch.
"They played really, really well this morning – especially with it moving as it was," Bresnan said. "All credit to them and how they played – especially Watson. He left well, and he played it on his eyes, which is a very English way of playing."
Watson was restricted to the extent he did not hit a boundary until into the afternoon with his 89th ball, and Bresnan announced afterwards that England would have put Australia in.
"We were definitely pleased [as bowlers] with the first use of that pitch," he said.
"I think we were going to bowl first anyway, the way it looked and the overhead conditions.
"It's always good to get the first punch in, and I think we certainly did get the first punch in."
Jimmy Anderson had occasional trouble keeping his feet on a surface containing plenty of moisture.
But Bresnan lost his balance only when Kevin Pietersen somehow contrived to collide with him as the pair celebrated Clarke's wicket.
"If I'm brutally honest, it's all Kev's fault," said the successful bowler. "He's given me a high-five, then run straight across me – and we got our legs tangled up.
"I went down quite hard. It looked quite funny on the replay, but more embarrassment than anything, luckily," Bresnan added.
As for the out-of-form Clarke, who made just four in his first match as Test captain, deputising for the injured Ricky Ponting, Bresnan said England still saw him as a dangerous opponent.
They are likely to have to get used to viewing the debutant Usman Khawaja likewise, after an impressive first Test innings from the 24-year-old – which ended in anticlimax when he mistimed a sweep at Graeme Swann to depart to what proved the last ball of a truncated day, thanks to returning rain.
Bresnan said of Clarke's dismissal: "He's still a quality player. We respect him highly – he's just been a bit unlucky."
Having got Khawaja for a first-ball duck, for the second of his two failures for Australia A against England in Hobart last month, Bresnan was still quick to praise his opponent: "He looks well organised. "We've seen more of him today than in any of the digs in Hobart, so we refined our plans a little bit. He looks a good player."Reuse content