Adelaide, Australia: Graeme Swann savoured the chance of bowling in tandem with Monty Panesar as England turned to spin in pursuit of a series-levelling win over Australia in the second Ashes Test on Thursday.
England decided to go with two spinners on a dry Adelaide drop-in pitch as they try to fight back from their 381-run trouncing by the Australians in the first Gabba Test.
It is the first time Swann and Panesar have bowled together since the fourth Test against India in Nagpur a year ago, and they each claimed a wicket as Australia went to stumps on the first day on 273 for five.
“I loved it. I love it when two spinners play,” Swann told reporters. “It’s how all cricket should be played. Minimum of two spinners per team.”
Swann said the England team enjoyed having the quirky Panesar in the team and took little notice of his recent off-field problems.
Panesar has admitted that he thought he had destroyed his international career after being fined for urinating on a nightclub doorman in Brighton.
The incident occurred in August after Panesar was asked to leave a nightclub in the town.
The 31-year-old was fined by police and released by county side Sussex, but was nonetheless named in the England squad for the return Ashes series in Australia.
“He’s always been left-field and a bit different to everyone else and it’s one of the reasons why we love him so much,” Swann said.
“We don’t care what’s happened in the last 12 months off the field. He’s one of the boys and we embrace him as ever and we love seeing him do well.”
While Swann took a superb catch late in the day to dismiss George Bailey for 53, England still put down three catches and could have been in an even better situation at the end of the first day.
“I think five wickets in a day is a pretty good return. Obviously six or seven would have been a lot better,” he said.
“We missed a couple of half-chances that we’ll rue but if we turn up in the morning and take a couple of quick wickets it could all quickly be forgotten.
“There’s always a sense of frustration when catches go down but we’ve taken some great catches on this trip so … we’re certainly not pointing fingers.
“If we need to get on top in this game we need to keep Australia to below 350. A couple of early wickets tomorrow will put us in a great position.”