Australia may be 2-0 down in a series they must win to regain the little urn but produced arguably their best day since arriving on these shores, led by skipper Michael Clarke's 24th Test century.
Clarke put the heat on his misfiring batsman to resurrect their hopes on the eve of the match and after closing on 303 for three they were well on course to winning back any lost pride.
Bresnan revealed afterwards that his side had expected Australia's fightback, especially after they won the toss on a batsman-friendly pitch and in hot conditions.
"We were expecting a fight. I think every time you play against Australia you expect them to fight hard," Bresnan said.
"Their backs were against the wall, so why wouldn't they push even harder back?
"We were expecting something like this. It's up to us now to counter-act that tomorrow."
England were hardly impotent despite Australia's progress, with their quicks beating the bat on a number of occasions.
They could also feel aggrieved at the Decision Review System - which came under further scrutiny - after Steve Smith twice survived marginal reviews.
The right-hander was then trapped plumb in front by Stuart Broad only for Tony Hill to turn down home appeals.
That Smith went on to join Clarke in an unbeaten 174-run stand ensured Australia's first-day dominance - but the tourists themselves were smarting with the officials after Usman Khawaja was erroneously sent on his way by TV umpire Kumar Dharmasena.
Cricket Australia have since requested clarification over the decision, as replays seemed to prove he did not edge behind off Graeme Swann, but Bresnan was more concerned with the way his fellow bowlers toiled in tough conditions.
"The conditions were pretty good for batting, so we're quite pleased with the way we stuck in there," he said.
"It's not like we didn't create any chances. We passed the outside edge frequently.
"On another day those might be nicks. We might come back tomorrow morning and get the nicks we didn't get today. We hope we'll get our rewards in the end.
"It could have gone a couple of different ways today. Had the luck been with us, the plays-and-misses we did get could have taken the outside-edge - and they could be six down."
The Yorkshireman admitted though that removing Clarke early on Friday would be crucial after the Australia skipper batted supremely today for his 125.
"Hopefully we get him for not many more. Have you got any tips?" he said.
"He's played pretty well, left the ball well. He's identified it's probably a batting day, and got stuck in there.
"Credit to him. It's not really done a lot out there."
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