The Ashes: Our Bres can be next Flintoff - Gale

Andrew Gale is backing big Yorkshire buddy Tim Bresnan to achieve his aim of becoming the next Andrew Flintoff in the wake of his sizzling England achievements at the MCG.

Pontefract lad Bresnan wrote his name into Ashes folklore by claiming the wicket of Australia's Ben Hilfenhaus, who edged a delivery to wicket-keeper Matt Prior, which enabled England to retain the urn Down Under for the first time in 24 long years yesterday.

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Bresnan was a surprise pick ahead of Steven Finn for the Melbourne Test, but his selection proved an inspirational one with the seamer recording superb match figures of 6-75 in his first Ashes appearance, while claiming the key second-innings wickets of Baggy Green skipper

Ricky Ponting and leading batting lights Mike Hussey and Shane Watson to help yield a massive innings-and-157 run victory.

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Tykes skipper Gale, who shared a house with Bresnan earlier this year ahead of recently moving into a new property, was thrilled for his close friend, toasting his success at his housewarming party in the early hours of yesterday – while admitting to a spot of professional envy!

On a milestone day for Bresnan, watched by proud parents Ray and Julie at the MCG, Gale told the YEP: "He's said himself that he believes he can be the next Andrew Flintoff and there's no reason why he can't go on and do that.

"The way he bowled in the second innings showed just how much he's come on as a bowler. He was swinging the ball both ways and was troubling the batsmen every ball.

"It's taking his game to the next level now. In the past few years, he's worked hard at his action and is getting a lot closer to the stumps than he was and he looks more threatening.

"He also looks more agile and the finished article now. All he has to do right now is start making more of a contribution with the bat and he can be a genuine all-rounder.

"He's worked hard and being around that set-up is making him go from strength to strength."

He added: "It's been a terrific series. Everyone who has come in has done a brilliant job.

"(Chris) Tremlett did brilliantly and then Bres for this (Melbourne) Test. I said before the game that he wouldn't be fazed by the big-game pressure. I knew he'd stand up and do well, although I didn't realise he'd do that well – putting in a man-of-the-match performance, if you like.

"I'll be looking forward to having a beer with him when he comes back.

"Seeing a close friend do that, there's a lot of envy thinking: 'I wish I was there playing and being around that set-up.' But he's earned that right.

"I'm sure every professional cricketer who watched that would have been a little bit jealous.

"I texted him after the first day and said: 'well done', If I'd have texted him after the win, I think he'd have been out (celebrating)!"

Gale only recently returned from Australia following a stint with the 'shadow' England Performance Squad alongside Tykes colleagues Jonathan Bairstow and Adam Lyth and will continue his globe-trotting early in the new year when he heads to the Caribbean with the Lions squad.

All the Yorkshire trio rubbed shoulders with the full Test squad along the way and sampled the full Ashes atmosphere and while the tourists have reclaimed the urn with one match left, Gale feels England won't be easing off in the final Test in Sydney which starts late on Sunday, with skipper Andrew Strauss determined to emulate the class of 1986-87 by clinching a cherished series win in Australia.

While that would represent a Holy Grail to some after nigh on a quarter of a century of failure down under, Gale insists England's horizons are much broader.

He said: "It would be nice to win the series, that's what it's about now. But I know myself from being around the England set-up that it's not just about that – the aim is to get to number one in the world."

Jimmy Keinhorst

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