Panesar grabbed four for 91 in 34 overs to rattle India’s top order. The hosts were 119-5 at one stage before centurion Cheteshwar Pujara and offie R Ashwin, batting on 60, put India back on course. Panesar bowled Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar and then foxed Virat Kohli and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
“Mushybhai has been very valuable for us. He has played a lot of cricket in the sub-continent and understands the rhythm of the game out here. He helps me and (Graeme) Swann on how to understand the type of cricket that Indians play and adjust to that, and the heat, the conditions and the noise of the crowd. All of that come into play when you’re a spin bowler,” he said.
“I think Christmas would be nice back home if we win the series,” Panesar added.
The tweaker admitted that he was disappointed to miss out in the first Test. “Yeah, there was disappointment. But I’m happy to be playing in Mumbai. I had the experience of bowling with the new ball in Dubai against Pakistan. There was an option where the captain would be able to use me with the new ball. I was prepared for that and it’s something that I enjoy,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Indian skipper surprised everyone by choosing three-spinner-one-pacer combination yesterday. Dhoni had completely ruled out the inclusion of Harbhajan Singh, who is playing his 99th Test.
Ashwin said the decision was based on the conditions here: “It (the decision) is about having more potency in this wicket and based on the judgment on how it would behave. I don’t think there is anything to do with Ishant Sharma’s fitness concerns.”