Saturday, November 24, 2012

Panesar, the tormenter of Indian batsmen

MUMBAI, November 24, 2012

When was the last time an overseas left-arm spinner troubled Indian batsmen in home conditions, at the Wankhede Stadium in particular?

Indian batsmen would remember Australia's Michael Clarke's devastating spell of six for nine in 6.2 overs here in the 2004-05 series. But India won that Test by 13 runs.

Left-arm spinner Monty Panesar, who started the second Test here with 142 wickets in 42 matches, demonstrated why England erred by not playing him in the first Test at Motera.

Gem of a delivery

Panesar produced a gem to knock back Sachin Tendulkar's off-stump after getting rid of the dangerous Virender Sehwag. He sent down a non-stop opening spell of 23 overs, picked up the wicket of Virat Kohli before making way for James Anderson.

His four wickets on Friday saw his tally against India rise to 15 wickets and go past Phil Edmonds's mark (14).

It was the first time in two years that the Indian batsmen were coming under scrutiny and being tormented by a practitioner of left-arm spin. New Zealand's Daniel Vettori took five for 135 at Hyderabad two years ago.

An opportunity

Indian batsmen usually consider left-arm spinners as an opportunity to score heavily through cut and sweep shots. In all 58 cricketers have bowled left-arm spin in India and 45 of them have accounted for 389 wickets (before the start of the second Test here).

Hedley Verity — who died during World War II — took seven for 49 against India at Madras in the 1933-34 series and the record still stands for a left-arm spinner.

The English left-arm spinners, 14 in all, who have been seen in action in India are Verity, Panesar, Derek Underwood (54 wickets), Tony Lock, Edmonds, Malcolm Hilton, J. Langridge, D. Wilson, Ashley Giles, Phil Tufnell, Norman Gifford, Donald Carr, Samit Patel and Ian Blakewell.

Denis Compton, Maurice Leyland, Geoffrey Cook, David Lloyd, Min Patel and Brian Luckhurst have also bowled left-arm spin against India, but in England.

In all 76 left-arm spinners have taken 602 wickets at 40.47 against India.
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