The hosts had stumbled against Peter Siddle last night to 31 for three, after opening up what seemed sure to be a decisive mid-match advantage.
Yorkshiremen Root and Bresnan were more assured on a cloudy morning, as Australia searched in vain for a breakthrough to try to battle their way back into match and series - having gone 1-0 down at Trent Bridge.
Bresnan needed 30 balls to get off the mark, with an unconvincing pull for a single off James Pattinson.
He was soon adding boundaries through midwicket and cover, though, after Michael Clarke replaced Siddle with Ryan Harris from the pavilion end.
Root, who had a significant moment of fortune on eight yesterday when he edged Shane Watson between wicketkeeper and slip, had no alarms this morning and was beginning to look well-placed for his first half-century as an England opener.
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- Peter Siddle