The spotlight on the eve of the second Test at the Wankhede was firmly on Virender Sehwag, for he was going to play his 100th Test. But, on Friday, the opening day of the Test, Monty Panesar, the genial Sikh in the England side, was hogging all the limelight.
Even as Sehwag came out
to bat and make it a memorable day for India — and himself — Panesar darted one which straightway went for Viru's pads. The ball hit the pads before knocking off the bails as a dejected Sehwag walked back.
The first two sessions belonged to Panesar, who ripped apart the heart of India's batting with four wickets. However, he was most delighted with Tendulkar's scalp.
“The prince of India, Sachin Tendulkar. I was delighted,” exclaimed Panesar. “That's the kind of delivery that you need to bowl to these top players to get them out as they are very, very good players in their home conditions.”
At his peak, Panesar would startle batsmen by pitching the ball on middle-stump and imparting enough spin on it for the ball to disturb the off-stump.
Somewhere down the line, the ball disappeared and so did the left-arm spinner's form. But on Friday, the ‘magic ball’ made an appearance.
Tendulkar's attempt to guide the cherry through the leg-side was unsuccessful, as the ball spun and hit the stumps.
It was the fourth time in his last-four international innings that Tendulkar was clean bowled. Panesar, who first played Test cricket in India, is on his third trip to the country. Over the last couple of years, he has failed to be a regular member of the team.