Panesar may not be a regular feature for the English team, as they prefer to play with a sole spinner, Graeme Swann. But one should not underestimate the quality of Monty Panesar's bowling, which the Indians did, who thrives on the big stage and if he is confident, he can make life difficult for batsmen with his trajectory.
In the second innings of the Mumbai Test match, he opened the bowling with James Anderson and was very difficult to get away with. In fact, it was his tight line and length that made it difficult for the batsmen to score runs, even for the likes of Virender Sehwag, who just hits through the line of the ball. He was attempting to draw the batsmen on the front foot and get the edge behind the wicket. This is exactly how some Indian batsmen got out.
Swann, who has earned a name as one of the best finger spinners playing his trade in the modern era was played with respect, as the Indians were bit cautious. But, with Panesar bowling beautifully, pressure was getting on the Indian batsmen as runs were hard to come by. When these bowlers were bowling in tandem during the second innings, every ball rolling out of the English spinners had wicket written all over it. It was all about the quality of the English spinners, which helped England level the series, 1-1.
So, it is obvious that English team is going to play with the same spinners, irrespective of the track – slow or rank turner, as they have also realised India are suspect to quality spin bowling. There were talks before the series that the Indian team is looking for a whitewash, but that is only a dream now. The Indians have to worry about saving the series, as a repeat performance against the English side at Kolkata will pin their hopes of winning the series as well.
When India play their third Test match at Kolkata, Panesar and Swann would be high on confidence and it is the Indians who need to remember that these are not just ordinary spinners, but spinners who took 19 wickets in the last Test match. Beware India!
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