Panesar ready for spin battle after pitch row

Julian Harris
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ENGLAND spinner Monty Panesar is confident of mastering India’s pitches and launching another assault on the hosts’ batsmen, ahead of the third Test starting on Wednesday.

The tourists will play on a worn wicket again – this time at the Eden Gardens ground in Kolkata – despite the plan backfiring on India in the second Test at Mumbai.

Panesar took 11 wickets in the match at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium as England stormed to a 10-wicket victory to level the series at 1-1.

“My strengths are getting the ball to turn and bounce with pace. I began to understand that different pitches have optimum pace for maximum turn,” Panesar said yesterday.

“The pace I bowled in Mumbai might not be right for Kolkata.”

A row broke out last week over the wicket selected for this week’s third Test. India’s captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni called for a sharp turning pitch, his comments condemned by curator Prabir Mukherjee as “immoral”.

Yet in the end Mukherjee has chosen a wicket that was played on just two weeks ago, a decision that could suit Dhoni’s game plan after all.

India will be confident at Eden Gardens, where they have scored over 600 first innings runs in each of their last three Test matches.

Recent Tests at Eden Gardens:
■ November 2011 – India score 631 to to comfortably beat West Indies.

■ February 2010 – India score 643 to brush aside South Africa by an innings and 57 runs.

■ December 2007 – India score 616 yet can only draw to Pakistan.