Bresnan's England journey is only just beginning

A FASCINATING aspect of this Ashes series has been the contribution made by so many to England's eventual success.

Some offerings may have been more sizeable than others.

Obviously, the magnificent Alastair Cook has oozed class with his batting exploits and Jimmy Anderson exploded some myths about his talent with a record-breaking wicket haul.

Likewise, in demolishing the Australians so emphatically, the cool-headed Andrew Strauss has also established himself as an eminent captain of some repute.

But away from the headline-makers it has been the ability of each and every player selected to, at some point, force an impact on the impoverished hosts, resulting in the desolate crater that is now Australian cricket.

Tim Bresnan epitomises that team ethos which has formed the backbone to the overall triumph.

Not seen by many as a likely contender for a place in their attack when the squad flew out in November, manager Andy Flower always realised he would be able to utilise the Castleford player's range of talents at some point during the tour.

Having made his Test debut against the West Indies in 2009, Bresnan was still seen more as a one-day all-rounder than a fast-medium Test bowler but helped prove otherwise during a successful stint in Bangladesh last summer and was hoping to make his mark in the Ashes.

However, even the typically thick-skinned and confident Yorkshireman must have seen those hopes fading when witnessing Steven Finn's impressive start.

The Middlesex man was the leading wicket-taker in the series after the opening three Tests and, even despite Stuart Broad's injury, Bresnan must have thought he might return home without getting his chance.

Flower surprised many, though, by leaving out Finn for Melbourne and the Yorkshire star grasped the opportunity.

Such was his instant impact, Bresnan was given the honour of leading England off the field at stumps on the third day of the Boxing Day Test match, having ravaged the hosts.

Taking the prized scalps of dejected captain Ricky Ponting, dangerous opener Shane Watson and prolific scorer Michael Hussey in a devastating spell after tea marked his arrival on the biggest stage of all, his reverse swing causing immeasurable damage.

Bresnan, who finished with 4-50, did not look back.

Full of zeal, power and passion, he played like a man who had found his calling.

It was fitting that his Ashes debut was completed in glorious fashion when he returned in the second innings to finish things off; forcing Ben Hilfenhaus into edging behind for Matt Prior to snare the final wicket and the scalp that saw England retain the coveted urn.

Bresnan continued to surprise many as he then claimed another five wickets in the final Test in Sydney, helping the tourists to secure their 3-1 series win.

"The beauty about Bresnan is that he is actually a lot better than he sometimes looks," was the comment from England legend and Sky pundit Ian Botham.

However, for those who know him best, there was never any danger of 'Bressie' not fitting in to his new elite surroundings.

Yorkshire director of cricket Martyn Moxon was not the least surprised by the manner in which his player handled the occasion.

He had only played two warm-up matches, against Australia A in November and then a three-day contest versus Victoria which finished on December 12, but he still eased himself into the role.

Moxon told the Yorkshire Post: "It's not easy having not played that many games for a long time. Bres played in that one at the start and one between the Tests before Perth but that was comparatively little actual match cricket.

"To go on and then enter such a big contest as the fourth Test, a huge game like that in Melbourne, and perform so well was a fantastic achievement. I was delighted for him and it's been great to see him show the world what he can do."

Moxon says the 25-year-old's willingness to work and constantly improve his game is now beginning to reap its rewards.

Bresnan will, no doubt, be a major influence in the forthcoming one-day internationals and World Cup but his Yorkshire chief reckons he can now also go on and secure a long-lasting spot in the Test side.

Many doubted he had the strike threat to be part of a four-man attack but that theory has been disproved over the final two Tests of this series Down Under.

"The pleasing thing for me is I've seen where Bres is delivering the ball from," said Moxon. "It's a lot closer to the stumps and something he's been working on for the last 18 months or so.

"When he is bowling from that position he's a different bowler to when he's wide on the crease.

"In one-day cricket, it's an advantage for him coming in from wide but in Test cricket it limits his ability to get wickets.

"However, in this series he's delivered closer to the stumps and managed to swing it both ways. It opens up more opportunities to get wickets and also increases his pace.

"If he can manage that and keep working on his batting then he can potentially become a genuine all-rounder for England."

Yorkshire captain Andrew Gale is another who is fulsome in his praise for the recent displays.

"I think Bres has developed and become a really good cricketer over the last few years," he said. "He had a few technical issues but he's sorted those and has also got a lot fitter than he was previously.

"Bres has always had mental strength and it's been brilliant to see him take this opportunity when it came around.

"I spent a bit of time with him when I was in Australia for the first three Tests and have sent him a few texts since.

"He's really enjoyed the experience and we're all delighted here by what he has achieved."

Bresnan, meanwhile, has suitably made the most of the weekend's celebrations as England hail their remarkable feat, the first side from these shores to win an Ashes series Down Under since Mike Gatting's side in 1986-87.

A player who some thought might forever live in the shadows of other leading Tykes bowlers such as Darren Gough or Matthew Hoggard, he deserves his moment of celebration.

However, while reflecting on his own success, he pointed to the England fans as playing a huge role over the last two months labelling them "the best in the world", while also highlighting the great team spirit within the England camp.

"Since all the time we've been here the fans have just been magnificent," said Bresnan.

"I can't thank them enough. Even the supporters at home as well.

"England fans are the best fans in the world, especially the Barmy Army."

And Bresnan praised the 21-year-old Finn for his impact beforehand, highlighting that togetherness in the squad.

"It's unbelievable to win it 3-1, just a fantastic achievement by all the boys," he added.

"People like Finny, loads of wickets in the first three Tests, it's just outstanding.

"An amazing Ashes win away from home – 20-odd years since the last time it was done – fantastic achievement by all the lads."