Bresnan backs Bairstow to step up

  • Last Updated: August 15 2012, 7:33 BST

Jonny Bairstow will rise to the challenge of filling Kevin Pietersen's shoes in the must-win Lord's Test.

Jonny Bairstow: Backed by Tim Bresnan

Bairstow will be undaunted, and unconcerned about the controversial reasons for his unexpectedly early return to Test cricket following his stuttering start against West Indies earlier this summer.

The assurances come from the 22-year-old's Yorkshire and England colleague Tim Bresnan, who was at pains too to stress Pietersen will not necessarily be missed.

England must beat South Africa in the final Investec Test to salvage a drawn series, and their hard-earned world number one status.

They must do so without the assistance of Pietersen, dropped after failing to deny or apologise for text messages - allegedly containing derogatory remarks about his own team-mates - which he reportedly sent to opposition players during the Headingley Test.

England must therefore take on one of the world's best bowling attacks with an unaccustomed middle order, containing Bairstow and Leeds debutant James Taylor - who have four caps between them.

Asked whether Bairstow will measure up, Bresnan said: "Definitely.

"I don't think he'll care who's been dropped, who he's replaced; it's a chance for him to impress everyone, a chance for him to play in a Test match and a chance for him to show exactly what he can do and show how talented he is."

Bairstow appeared to struggle against the short ball, in his last Test appearance against West Indies at Trent Bridge.

But Bresnan said: "I think he is unbelievably talented, and I think he can get runs at this level if he gets a start.

"All he needs to do is feel a bit of confidence out there, and he got that last week (with a century for England Lions) against Aussie A.

"He played really well against a really good attack. He took Mitchell Johnson apart.

"From what I saw on the highlights, he played some unbelievable shots and played the short ball well."

Bairstow, Bresnan advises, simply needs to back himself and stick to what he is very good at.

"Maybe in his first Test he decided to do something different when he came up against the West Indies.

"It's just a bit of inexperience creeping in, because you don't want to get caught on the hook in your first Test match.

"But I think if that's the way he plays short balls that's the way he should play them this week.

"He just looked in two minds about what to do with it (against West Indies).

"When I've seen him play in county cricket he tends to just smash it in the stand; if that's his way of doing it then that's what he needs to do at this level as well."