England cricket, England vs India, Ian Botham, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Monty Panesar, Others, Steven Finn
India’s Mahendra Singh Dhoni has heaped praise on Monty Panesar after the spinner delivered a match winning performance to help England level the series at 1-1. The 30-year-old took eleven wickets in the game as he ripped through the Indian batting line-up in both innings to hand England a convincing win in Mumbai.
The ten wicket victory marks a remarkable turnaround for an England side that were outclassed in last week’s first test in Ahmedabad, where the hosts cruised to a nine wicket triumph. The post-match dissection led to many pundits calling for an extra spinner to be introduced to the side for the clash in Mumbai, and Panesar answered those calls in spectacular fashion after delivering an accomplished display.
Dhoni had expected England to turn to Panesar to help out Graeme Swann on India’s notoriously big spinning wickets prior to the game and he admitted that he was more than impressed with the Sussex man’s contribution: "None of the other bowlers troubled the batsmen in the way that Monty did. All the other bowlers got turn and bounce, but the pace Monty was bowling at made it so much more difficult. I wish we could have bowled fuller ourselves because Pietersen and Cook played really well off the back foot" he said.
With the series delicately poised, attention will now turn towards the third test in Calcutta next week where England will probably once again look to their two front line spinners to make dents in India’s batting line-up. Graeme Swann also had a fantastic game in Mumbai, bagging eight wickets overall, but Alastair Cook will be hoping for more from his pace-men who have yet to really find their feet in this tour. James Anderson and Stuart Broad only managed to claim one Indian dismissal between them in the second test, and with Steven Finn approaching fitness, the selectors could be faced with some difficult decisions ahead of the Calcutta showdown. Perhaps they will relax with a Fruit Machine or two and ponder their decision. Ian Botham is one of many backing Finn’s selection should be he available.