After a crucial contribution with both bat and ball during England’s fourth Test victory over Australia at Durham, Tim Bresnan has been ruled out of the fifth Test – and potentially longer – with a back injury that has opened the door for those waiting keenly in the wings.
Several pundits questioned the decision to pick Bresnan over Durham’s Graham Onions, with many believing that Onions would have provided more of a threat on his home pitch. Bresnan’s selection was labelled as another sign of Alistair Cook’s conservative captaincy, with the suggestion that the Yorkshire seamer was only in because of his superior batting, as the lower order – in particular Matt Prior – struggled for form.
Whether that was the case or not, few would blame Cook, Andy Flower and the selectors for believing that they got that call spot on. Not only did Bresnan take three wickets in the match – including the crucial one of David Warner to break Australia’s impressive second innings opening stand – but his 45 runs scored as nightwatchman proved just as vital in steadying the ship during England’s second innings.
It all means there are some big shoes to fill, but no one in the England squad has bigger feet than Chris Tremlett.
The Surrey bowler was one of the stars of the show Down Under in 2010, finishing with 17 wickets – the second highest in the series behind only Jimmy Anderson.
The 6ft 8in fast bowler is an imposing figure running towards the crease and at times during the Aussie winter he had even the most experienced batsmen, including Mike Hussey, Brad Haddin and Ricky Ponting, all ends up.
And given the tendency this new breed of Australian batsmen have of giving away their wickets cheaply, they will not look forward to facing up to a new pace threat.
With the series in the bag and England 3-0 up, few will begrudge previous match-winners Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson from taking a back seat, and with the extent of Bresnan’s injury unclear, Tremlett could well be playing for more than just a desire to make an impression on this Ashes series.
Should he remind the selectors of the sort of form that so petrified the Baggy Greens in their own back yard, he could well ensure a ticket for November. Tremlett is 5/2 to finish as top English wicket-taker at the Oval.
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