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Bresnan: England can be better without KP

ESPN staff
August 14, 2012

England can be an even "better side" without Kevin Pietersen in their ranks, according to Tim Bresnan.

England's preparations for the third and final Test against South Africa at Lord's on Thursday have been overshadowed by the decision to omit Pietersen from the must-win game for the hosts.

He was dropped after failing to give assurances over the text messages reportedly sent to South African players, with Jonny Bairstow replacing the star batsman for the series finale - which England must win in order to preserve their status as the No. 1 ranked Test side in the world.

Pietersen, who has scored more than 7,000 Test runs at an average nearing 50, struck a brilliant 149 in the drawn Test at Headingley to underline his importance to the England team.

However, Bresnan does not believe they head into the Lord's clash a weakened unit, insisting England's chances of levelling the series have not been dented by Pietersen's absence.

"It may be an even better side, it's one of those things where a talented player is being replaced by another talented player," he said. "So why should we miss a certain individual because he's unavailable for selection?

"We seem to play really well in the face of adversity. When we do come across must-win games, like Melbourne and 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."

Bairstow enters the fray having failed to impress in May, when he was dropped at the end of the three-match series against West Indies after amassing 38 runs at an average of 12.66.

He arrives on the back of a century (scored for England Lions against Australia A at Old Trafford last week), however, and Bresnan has backed the 22-year-old to take his latest chance.

"If he gets stuck in and gets runs this week then I'm sure he will show what he can do on the world stage and how talented he is," he said. "A new star could be born. Jonny is very talented and has a long way to go but, as time goes by, he will develop into one of the world's best."

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