There was a clamour when left-arm spinner Monty Panesar was ignored for the first Test at Ahmedabad. It proved to be a big blunder and England suffered a huge defeat. The visitors did not want to repeat that mistake for the second Test at Mumbai. When Panesar came in the sixth over, all eyes were on the left-arm spinner. The tall spinner was hit for two fours in his first over.
But Panesar found the right line and length in the next over. He got turn and bounce. Flighting the ball, he even curled the ball away. In his first delivery of his sixth over, he sent the dangerous
Virender Sehwag back with a ball that dipped in to take the leg stump. His eyes lit up and jumped in celebration with his teammates. But there was more to come. Three overs later, it was a classical piece of left-arm spin that beat Sachin Tendulkar in the air and hit the off-stump. He said taking the wicket of prince of India, Tendulkar was a great moment for him.
“I was obviously delighted with that,’’ he said. Panesar said it was a four-day wicket. “Yes, they prepared a pitch which they already had played four-day cricket on. They prepared a pitch that would turn and bounce. When I’m bowling to these world class cricketers, I’m going to be needing every help that there is around. That’s the kind of delivery that you need to bowl to these top players to get them out as they are very very good players in their own conditions,” he said.
The left-arm spinner said it was a big disappointment when he was not selected for the Ahmedabad Test. “But I’m happy to be playing in Mumbai. I had the experience of bowling with the new ball in Dubai against Pakistan. There was an option where the captain would be able to use me with the new ball. I was prepared for that and it’s something that I enjoy. It’s a new thing for me but I do enjoy bowling with the new ball,” he said, adding “om hindsight it is a great thing. It would have been nice to play, but I’m just delighted to play in this match.”
Panesar said bowling coach Mushtaq Ahmed’s inputs were valuable. “Mushy bhai has been very valuable for us. He has played a lot of cricket in the subcontinent and he understands the rhythm of the game out here. He helps me and Swann in how to understand the type of cricket that Indians play out here and adjust to that and the heat and the conditions and the noise of the crowd. All of that comes into play when you’re the spin bowler.
“You have to adjust to the flamboyant shots they play and just got to accept it and keep bowling the next ball.’’
The English spinner said they applied a lot of pressure on the Indian batters.
“The Indian team did not expect it, they won the toss and batted and thought they would be 300-plus with not many wickets down. We as a team really applied a lot of pressure on them. To have them five wickets down for not many was a testament to how much pressure we applied on them.’’