Graeme Swann is considering forming an exclusive club after his remarkable introduction to Test cricket. The dinner table will not be particularly crowded when the star attractions eventually get together, as Swann became only the second bowler in the history of Test cricket to take two wickets in his first over when he dismissed India's Gautam Gambhir and Rahul Dravid on the stroke of tea.
The wickets, which allowed Kevin Pietersen's inspired side to storm back into the second Test, allowed Swann to emulate the feat of Richard Johnson, who claimed two Zimbabwe wickets while playing for England at Chester-le-Street in 2003. Johnson's feat was marginally better than England's man of the day; he took wickets with his third and fourth ball in Test cricket, whereas Swann's were with the third and sixth.
When told of his achievement, Swann, a chirpy character even in adversity, said: "I thought I was the first. I'm gutted now. No, I'm happy it was Jonno. I don't mind that at all. We will have to start an exclusive club."
Before the Test, Swann insinuated that a confident exterior is often used to cover up weaknesses within, and after his first delivery, a long hop that was ruthlessly cut for four by Gambhir, those who know Swann began to wonder. But the boundary was followed by a vociferous appeal for a close catch and the third ball brought him the commodity a bowler desires most – a Test wicket.
"When I ran up to bowl the first ball it felt as though I had a ping-pong ball in my hand," explained Swann. "I didn't know where it was going to land and it went for four. My mum could have hit that ball for four. It deserved what it got. Then it all went a bit crazy. For the first wicket I was delighted, but I was still a little angry that the previous appeal hadn't been given, but it was rightly given not out.
"My head was spinning when I took the second wicket. I can't remember what I did, who I was with or where I ran. It was like I had scored a goal at Wembley.
"It couldn't have started any better really. You wouldn't even dream about taking two wickets in your first over in Test cricket. If you did you'd be considered crazy. I am delighted with how that first over went and I am delighted with the position we are in.
"Before the start of the Test I made my mind up that I was determined to enjoy whatever happened in this game. I'm not stupid, I realise that finger spinners do not get that great a chance in Test cricket, especially in England."
Injury, along with the emergence of Stephen Harmison, Simon Jones and James Anderson, meant that Johnson played only two further Tests for England, an achievement that Swann will be hoping not to repeat.Reuse content