Smells like Tim spirit: Bresnan goes flat out on flat track

Out of the three men widely reckoned to make up England's preferred trio of pace bowlers, two nurse injuries. If Stuart Broad's heel or Steven Finn's thigh refuse to heal by the time the first Test begins next Thursday, the tourists can take solace from the fact that they have an in-form replacement. Tim Bresnan picked up four wickets in the first tour game against India A; on Friday, he added two scalps against Haryana on an unresponsive Motera B wicket. Even if Broad and Finn recover fully, England might find it hard to leave the Yorkshireman out.

Having posted 521, England toiled for 61 overs to send back four Haryana batsmen for 172, as opener Rahul Dewan's 77 not out kept their bowlers at bay.

Bresnan struck early to remove Nitin Saini for 13, caught at point off a sharp bouncer. The situation would have gotten worse for Haryana had Matt Prior held on to a nick from Dewan in the 11th over, bowled by Stuart Meaker, when he was on 14. Prior later left the playing field because of a stomach upset and Jonny Bairstow kept wickets in his place after tea.

Bresnan kept testing the Haryana batsmen with the short ball, and was involved in a mini-contest with a confident Sunny Singh, who twice uppercut him, a la Virender Sehwag, for boundaries over the slip cordon. Sunny went on to score 55, slamming 11 boundaries in 74 balls. His was the second wicket to fall, with the score reading 125 in 36.3 overs. Sunny shared a 97-run partnership for the second wicket with Dewan.

Bresnan came back for a second spell and sent back Abhimanyu Khod (3), who nicked one to the slips. Apart from Bresnan, none of the other seamers managed a wicket, despite bowling with a lot of pace and aggression. "It is not seaming, nor bouncing. It is difficult," is how Bresnan summed up the practice wicket at Ahmedabad. When asked if he has a secret to talking wickets in India, his response was jocular. "Bowl straight or be a spinner."

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