Ashes 2013: Tim Bresnan hits unbeaten century against Essex

Tim Bresnan
Warm-up match, Chelmsford (day two of four):
England 413-9dec v Essex 231-9
Match scorecard

Tim Bresnan made a century and was part of an England attack that chipped away at the Essex batting on day two of the Ashes warm-up match.

Bresnan's unbeaten 105 and 94 from Graeme Swann, the eighth-wicket pair sharing a stand of 187, allowed the national side to declare on 413-9.

Before being dismissed, Swann was struck on the right forearm by pace bowler Tymal Mills and did not field.

Joe Root took four wickets as Essex closed on 231-9, 182 behind.

X-rays later showed Swann had only suffered bruising but his absence allowed Root to show what he could do with his part-time off-spin.

That Root had the most success of all the England bowlers says much about the flat nature of the Chelmsford pitch and the inability of seamers Bresnan, Steven Finn and Graham Onions to make a convincing case for selection for the first Test against Australia on 10 July.

Finn was wayward at times but still produced moments of quality to pick up three scalps, while Bresnan probed enough early on to have Hamish Rutherford caught at mid-off before struggling later in the day.

Onions, the least likely to line up alongside James Anderson and Stuart Broad at Trent Bridge, was accurate and had the misfortune of seeing two catches dropped off his bowling before producing a beauty to bowl Mark Pettini.

England, however, would have run through the Essex batting in quicker time had they not been defied by 90 from opener Jaik Mickleburgh.

Beginning the game on a first-class average of just under 26, Mickleburgh cashed in when Finn strayed then dished out more punishment to another Swann understudy, Kevin Pietersen.

He fell 10 short of a fifth first-class hundred when given out caught at short leg off Root, although replays showed the right-hander may not have made contact with his attempted sweep shot.

Root, who regularly found sharp turn, had already encouraged Owais Shah to top edge to wicketkeeper Matt Prior and held on to a stunning one-handed catch off his own bowling to remove Ben Foakes.

And, after Saj Mahmood miscued Root to Jonny Bairstow in the covers and Finn trapped David Masters lbw to the final ball of the day, England were left only one wicket away from the opportunity to better the mistakes of a profligate first-innings effort with the bat.

From 212-7 on day one, Alastair Cook's side needed Bresnan and Swann to first save them from embarrassment and then move them into a position of strength.

Attacking on the second morning, Bresnan in particular played some eye-catching drives on both sides of the wicket.

Their only discomfort came from the pace of left-armer Mills, who hit Swann on the arm and Bresnan on the helmet in the same over.

However, both men still looked set for centuries until Swann swiped leg-spinner Tom Craddock to mid-on. With Finn pinned lbw first ball, Craddock had only his second first-class five-wicket haul.

Bresnan, though, would not be denied a fourth first-class hundred, moving through the nineties with consecutive boundaries off Tom Westley, then moving to three figures by smashing the same bowler over mid-wicket for six, prompting England's declaration.

"Lower-order runs could play a part in winning Test matches further down the line," said Bresnan, who believes his runs will only boost his chances of being selected in the Test side if he is bowling well enough to be included in the attack.

"The bowlers will be picked on form so if I'm not bowling well it doesn't matter how many runs I've got," added the Yorkshire all-rounder. "The batting side comes as a bonus.

"If it's a straight shootout then the batting might help me but if I'm not bowling well enough then that won't matter."

Match scorecard

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