Bresnan - Jonny will be good
All-rounder plays down significance of Pietersen omission
By Joe Drabble - Twitter: @SkySportsDrabs. Last Updated: 14/08/12 2:54pm
England all-rounder Tim Bresnan has backed Yorkshire team-mate Jonny Bairstow to fill the considerable void left by Kevin Pietersen when the third and final Test against South Africa gets under way at Lord's.
Pietersen's exclusion from the England squad for this week's crunch clash has dominated the pre-match build-up and provided Andy Flower's men with an unwanted distraction as they look to retain their No.1 Test ranking at HQ.
With Pietersen now out of the equation, England have thrown an SOS to 22-year-old Bairstow, who played three Tests against West Indies earlier this summer before being dropped for the opening two Tests against the Proteas.
And Bresnan sees no reason why his fellow Yorkshireman cannot make his mark against South Africa, particularly as he is coming into the match on the back of a century against Australia A.
He said: "He's (Pietersen) a good player but we've got Jonny Bairstow in to replace him, who is obviously a very talented player. He scored a hundred last week so he's full of confidence and in great form.
"It may be an even better side. It's just one of those things where a talented player has been replaced by another talented player so why should we miss certain individuals because they are unavailable for selection?"
England, who are unbeaten in 13 Tests at Lord's, will need Bairstow to transfer his recent form with England Lions into the senior side as they look to mark Andrew Strauss' landmark 100th Test cap with a vital win.
"It's a huge honour to play any Test for England, let alone 100!" added Bresnan. "I can only begin to comprehend how he's feeling, it must be amazing for him driving through those gates on Thursday morning and walking out on to the pitch.
"It's just one of those things where a talented player has been replaced by another talented player so why should we miss certain individuals because they are unavailable for selection?"
Tim Bresnan Quotes of the week
"He's been an inspirational leader and instrumental to our success over the last 18 months or so.
"I want to be playing on Thursday and I'm sure the rest of the lads will want to support him and get that win for him to level the series."
Asked about morale in the camp after a troublesome week for the team, Bresnan refuted any claims of dressing room unrest.
He added: "We met up yesterday (Monday) and the mood in the camp was exceptional, it's just like it always is to be fair.
"It is quite relaxed, quite focused but we've still got the drive and desire to get that win - and that's the ultimate thing and that's what we're after.
"The team spirit in the changing room has always been good. There's been nothing of note in amongst the mix to suggest otherwise. Whenever I walk into the changing room it's always got that relaxed energised feeling about it and I'm sure it will have for years to come."