Panesar happy to be playing with spin rival Swann

 

England's Monty Panesar played down his rivalry with fellow spinner Graeme Swann after returning to the test arena today for the first time since 2009.

Panesar dismissed Pakistan opener Mohammad Hafeez on the way to figures of one for 91 in the second test, while Swann took three for 52 to confirm his reputation as England's top spinner.

England were in command after reducing the hosts to 256 for seven, but Pakistan captain Misbah ul-Haq remained unbeaten on 83.

"I have been out of the team for three years, so whatever opportunities I get now I just want to make the most of my opportunity," Panesar told reporters.

"I'm not really thinking about whether I want to be number one (spin bowler). We both see each other as partners, helping each other.

"I'm enjoying my partnership with Swann, bowling in tandem - ball turning away, ball spinning it actually creates quite a lot of pressure among different batsmen."

Panesar was recalled in place of injured seamer Chris Tremlett as England played two spinners in a four-man attack for the first time since 2003.

Such has been Swann's form that Panesar had been sidelined since his memorable last-wicket stand with James Anderson against Australia in Cardiff in 2009.

"I was a little bit nervous - I found out this morning," said Panesar. "I avoided being up all night practising my action in front of the mirror. I just kept myself ready - there was always the option of playing two spinners because of the conditions out here and the pace of the wicket."

Panesar put in a long shift, bowling 33 overs and was hit for five sixes.

With Pakistan at 51 for no wicket, he dropped a stooping caught and bowled chance, but made immediate amends, dismissing Hafeez for 31 with his next delivery.

"I should have taken it and the next ball ... it was nice to get the wicket because he's been in good form and it's good to get him early on," said Panesar.

He was philosophical about missing out on the wicket of Ul-Haq when James Anderson dropped a catch with the Pakistan captain on 30.

"These kinds of things happen," said Panesar. "He has batted well and you have got to put that past you and keep focusing on the overs. I knew I was going to bowl a lot of overs and I didn't want that to affect me."

Reuters

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