Left-arm spinner Monty Panesar struck two mighty blows in successive overs as England grabbed the initiative to leave India struggling at 87 for three on the first morning of the second cricket Test at Wankhede on Friday.
Panesar got the ball to turn sharply off the first morning track after coming on to bowl the seventh over to send back India's Big Two -- Virender Sehwag (playing his 100th Test) and Sachin Tendulkar -- in 11 balls after James Anderson gave England an early break by dismissing Gautam Gambhir off the second ball of the match at the Wankhede Stadium.
Panesar, who made his debut against India in 2006 at Nagpur, had figures of 2 for 29 in 11 overs at lunch as the hosts, opting to bat first after winning the toss, adjourned at 87 for 3 with first Test double centurion Cheteshwar Pujara (38 in 86 balls) and Virat Kohli (6 off 26 balls) at the crease.
India went into the Test with three spinners for the first time in six years and they had the chance to bat first on the track that offered some pace and bounce initially.
But the hosts, 1-0 ahead in the four-match series after winning the opening Test at Ahmedabad by nine wickets, were pulled back when Anderson packed off Gambhir off the second ball of the match.
Gambhir, who flicked the England pace bowler to mid wicket off the first ball, missed the next while trying for a similar shot to leg and was struck in front by Anderson.
Umpire Tony Hill upheld the appeal to leave India 4 for 1.
Sehwag, playing his 100th Test and honoured by the Mumbai Cricket Association prior to the commencement of the match, started off with an excellent front foot off drive off Stuart Broad before the second wicket pair was confronted by the left-arm spin of Monty Panesar from the seventh over.
Panesar, who replaced Anderson, was smashed to the long on boundary by Sehwag off the second ball he faced while Pujara drove him handsomely to the extra cover fence to keep up the tempo.
Brief Score: India 87 for 3 ( Cheteshwar Pujara 38*, Virender Sehwag 30; Monty Panesar 2 for 29) vs England
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First Published: November 23, 2012, 11:55 am