Dhoni heaps praise on destructive Panesar

INDIA captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni hailed spinner Monty Panesar after he inspired England to a 10-wicket victory in the second Test, but promised to keep demanding pitches with maximum turn and bounce from groundstaff ahead of next week’s third Test.

Panesar destroyed India’s batting line-up on Sunday, taking five wickets to limit the hosts’ second innings, after Kevin Pietersen’s superb 186 knock had put England in control in Mumbai. The Sussex spin-bowler then finished the second innings with 6-81, and 11 wickets in the match, while Graeme Swann joined Panesar with 8-113.

“All the other bowlers were getting bounce and turn, but Monty bowled at real pace,” said Dhoni. “He bowled at 90-95kph and even above that, and still he got real turn. He had a big impact on the game.

“The other spinners got the bounce, but they never looked to trouble the batsmen as much a Monty did. Big credit goes to him. If you get performances like this, margin of defeat can be big.”

Despite England’s success with spin in Mumbai, Dhoni stood by his demand for more turn.

“I think this was a very good wicket. Tests in the subcontinent should be played on such wickets. The toss wasn’t that vital. It started turning from the first day,” he said.

“What is the point of playing on a flat track and winning the toss and batting for three or four days over the Test?

“You want to face challenges in Test cricket. These are the kinds of wickets that push you. Definitely all the wickets should be like this.”