Panesar piles pressure on India

Monty Panesar's three wickets ensured England made early inroads on the first day

Monty Panesar's three wickets ensured England made early inroads on the first day

First published in National Sport News © by

Monty Panesar led the way as England applied the pressure against India on day one of the second Test.

Panesar (three for 64), back for his first Test in eight months after a clamour for his inclusion following England's defeat in Ahmedabad, began with the prize wickets of Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar at the Wankhede Stadium.

Sehwag could mark his 100th Test with only 30 first-innings runs, and the great Tendulkar - perhaps playing on his home ground at the highest level for the last time - mustered only eight. Only Cheteshwar Pujara (77 not out), augmenting his unbeaten first-Test double-century, proved a significant stumbling block for England - as India battled to 167 for five at tea.

It was James Anderson who gave the tourists a near-perfect start in the first over of the match after India had won an important toss on a pitch expected to favour spin throughout. Gautam Gambhir clipped him through mid-wicket for four first ball, but England's premier pace bowler swung the next past bat on to pad to win an lbw appeal.

Captain Alastair Cook took Anderson off after just three overs and gave Panesar an early bowl. England's slow left-armer began with a nervy full toss, which Sehwag duly clubbed wide of mid on for four in an over costing nine runs.

But Panesar's next was a maiden to Sehwag, and soon he got his man. It was not prodigious turn that did the trick, Panesar tending to operate at a full length and defeating Sehwag in flight to bowl him off stump off his pads as the batsman tried to push to leg.

Tendulkar also lost his off stump to Panesar, but this time it was a perfectly-pitched delivery on middle and leg that tempted the master batsman to aim towards mid on and turned enough to beat the slightly closed face of the bat.

Pujara was not so fallible, completing a 110-ball 50 here to add to his Ahmedabad heroics when he dispatched another Panesar full-toss past mid-wicket for his fourth boundary. Virat Kohli tried to follow Pujara's example. But after taking more than an hour to reach 19, he was not quite to the pitch driving Panesar - and he pushed a catch low to cover.

Cook immediately reintroduced Graeme Swann to bowl at left-hander Yuvraj Singh, and the ploy worked with an off break which beat the new batsman on the backward defence and disturbed off stump again.

Yuvraj's second-ball duck left India 119 for five, and Pujara escaped a half-chance soon afterwards on 60 when Anderson could not cling on one-handed diving low to his left at second slip off Panesar. India's mainstay and his captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni then drew some sting from England in an unbroken stand of 48 by tea.

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