Ashes 2013: Graeme Swann bullish about England’s third Test prospects

Ashes 2013: Graeme Swann insists England can respond in the third Test despite trailing Australia by 475 runs at the end of day two

Graeme Swann insists England can gain a foothold in the third Ashes Test despite losing two late wickets in the final session to finish on 52-2 in reply to Australia’s mammoth total of 527-7 declared.

The 34-year-old spinner was the only England bowler to emerge with notable figures, taking five for 159, on a placid Old Trafford surface.

When it was England’s turn to bat, they lost Joe Root and nightwatchman Tim Bresnan – both caught behind. The latter failed to review even though replays showed the ball had flicked his pocket.

Speaking after the close of play, Swann said: “Bresnan thought he’d hit it. He heard a little noise and assumed it was an edge and so he walked.

“It was tough. It’s a very flat pitch and what spin there is, it tends to come when the ball’s hardest so come the morning the ball will be softer. It’s about 30 overs old now and it’ll be great for batting.”

England must now focus on securing a draw with Australia so far ahead in the game – the hosts still need another 276 runs to avoid the follow-on.

And despite Swann’s optimism, he did suggest that the prospect of facing fellow twirler Nathan Lyon on day three will cause the English batsmen trouble.

“It’s a very good pitch,” added Swann. “Where you might get a bit more movement is the foot-holes – obviously with Mitchell Starc’s to the right-hander. I think the main part of the pitch will stay true for five days, though.

“There’s certainly more bounce than at Trent Bridge. Lord’s was a good wicket to bowl on. Sometimes you get lucky with a wicket but you like to think you apply the pressure to get those wickets.”

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