Bresnan backs Bairstow to shine

  • Last Updated: August 14 2012, 13:29 BST

Tim Bresnan sees no reason why England should miss Kevin Pietersen in the crucial third and final Test against South Africa - and suggested Andrew Strauss might have an "even better side" at his disposal.

Jonny Bairstow: Replaces Kevin Pietersen

Pietersen was dropped by England after failing to reveal the contents of text messages allegedly sent to South African players during the drawn match at Headingley, a result which left the touring Proteas 1-0 up in the three-match series.

England have replaced Pietersen with Jonny Bairstow and Bresnan believes his fellow Yorkshireman is a more than competent replacement.

Asked if he was conscious about going into the Test without a full-strength England side, Bresnan told a press conference: "It may be an even better side, it's one of those things where a talented player is being replaced by another talented player. So why should we miss a certain individual because he's unavailable for selection?"

Bairstow, 22, was dropped by England after his third Test against West Indies this summer amid concerns he was having trouble handling the short ball at the highest level.

However, he was recalled this weekend after scoring a century for England Lions against Australia A last week.

Bresnan added: "He's (Pietersen) good player, we've got Jonny Bairstow to replace him. He's obviously a very talented player, he got a hundred last week, so he's full of confidence and in great form."

Bowler Bresnan also insisted the mood in the England camp is "exceptional" heading into the Lord's Test, which the hosts need to win if they are to prevent South Africa replacing them at the top of the world rankings.

"We met up yesterday, the mood in the camp was exceptional, it's just like it always is to be fair, quite relaxed, quite focused, we've still got the drive and desire to get that win and that's the ultimate thing really, that's what we're after," he said.

Bresnan is also backing the England team to rise to the challenge without Pietersen, saying: "We seem to play really well in the face of adversity. When we do come across must-win games like Melbourne, Colombo, we seem to pull it out the bag when it's needed.

"And it's not just one guy that's going to be able to it for us, it's a team effort. We all need to pull in the same direction and I'm sure that will happened this week.

"Whatever happens I think we'll be gunning for a win, which is how we play our best cricket, it's positive, it's aggressive and that's what we need to do to win this game of cricket."

South Africa star Jacques Kallis, meanwhile, has no doubts Pietersen still has a role to play at international level for England and has backed the 32-year-old to bounce back from this setback.

"I'm sure they'll sort it out. He's too good a player to stay out of the international scene. I've no doubts they'll come to an agreement and something will be sorted out," he told reporters.

"These sorts of things are going to happen throughout his career, a few things have happened. I don't think it'll affect him, I think he'll bounce back and I think he's still got a lot of cricket ahead of him."

On whether he thinks England will miss Pietersen at Lord's, the 36-year-old Kallis added: "He's a world-class player and he's proven that over many years and put in big performances for England so I'm sure he's going to be missed, but England's got some good players as well."

Kallis, who scored an unbeaten 182 in the first Test victory at the Oval, also doubts whether the off-field distractions leading up to the final Test will affect Strauss' side once play begins.

"I think the guys are professional enough to get on with the job. Obviously they are going to want to come out and win the Test match, and once a Test match starts, whatever happened before that, the guys tend to put it behind them and just move forward and look forward," he said.