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Bresnan plays a straight bat sees Tim Bresnan - England's go-to in difficult on-field conditions - excel as their off-field dead batter ahead of Thursday's must-win Test.

The assembled press-corps probably could have guessed the man England would choose to send to the Coronation Garden at Lord's for the Tuesday press-conference before the burly Yorkshireman emerged wearing a cheeky grin.

Tim Bresnan is England's go-to when their backs are to the wall. A reliable yeoman on the field, he does an excellent job portraying a man utterly detached from the melee which has encircled his team since the end of the Headingley Test.

"I try not to get caught up in any of the press or media, I don't read any of the papers or anything - which is probably why I was chosen to do this press conference," quipped the 27-year-old, to much mirth from the written press in the MCC Museum Film Theatre - the venue for most Lord's press conferences.

Bresnan did show clear support for ECB's stance in leaving out their precociously talented number four, saying: "He's obviously said something or done something - I don't know what, you guys [the press] know more than me! But if they feel they need to take that action then I back them 100%."

However, he insisted he'd had no inclination as to the remarkable nature of Pietersen's public utterances before his press conference at Headingley which blew the entire affair open. Bresnan also said he'd be more than happy to welcome Pietersen back into the fold in the future.

For now though, England have a Test to win if they're to prevent losing the number one Test status to South Africa.

And Bresnan was practically buoyant as he insisted England would be just as capable of tying up the series in the next week: "From inside the dressing room we've got nothing but confidence, we've got nothing but energy and we've got nothing but drive to go and win this Test match. If we go out there any play our best cricket then it doesn't matter who's playing.

"Over the last 18 months we've become good at winning the must-win games. The pressure of a short term goal to focus on - for instance the wins in Melbourne and Colombo - has helped. Whenever we've needed to win we have."

Bresnan's Yorkshire teammate Jonny Bairstow is the man drafted in to replace Pietersen - should England opt to play a four man bowling attack.

The Pontefract-born all-rounder was unanimous in his support for Bairstow, despite his mixed showing against the short ball against the West Indies earlier this summer.

"I think he's unbelieveably talented and can score a lot of runs at this level," he added.

"If I'm honest he just looked in two minds as to what to do with the short ball. When I've seen him in county cricket he's just put it in the stand. If that's the way he plays it then that's how he should deal with it."

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