‘Sachin tried to play it towards mid-on, but completely misjudged the length’: Monty Panesar recalls magical ball to dismiss Tendulkar
With India batting first in Mumbai during the 2012 Test series, Panesar picked up a five-wicket-haul, including the prized scalp of Tendulkar with a delivery which left-arm spinners can only dream of.Updated: Aug 07, 2020 10:52 IST
Not many give Monty Panesar credit but the way he dismissed Sachin Tendulkar in a Test match in Mumbai makes him deserving of a special mention. England, during their 2012 tour of India, lost the opening Test in Ahmedabad by nine wickets, and heading into Mumbai, added Panesar to their Playing XI. With India batting first, Panesar picked up a five-wicket-haul, including the prized scalp of Tendulkar with a delivery which left-arm spinners can only dream of.
With Tendulkar batting on 8, Panesar gave the ball flight, before it landed outside leg and beat Tendulkar’s defence to hit the top of his off-stump. Panesar would get him out in the second innings too, taking his success rate against the batting legend to four dismissals in 11 Tests.
“When I bowled that ball to [Sachin] Tendulkar, I could remember the training I did,” Panesar told ESPNCricinfo. “When I bowled [in the Tests] I was like, gosh, I feel so fit, I feel strong, my action feels great, I felt like I could really flight the ball and spin it. I remember saying to myself, right, I want to hit the top of off stump. That was it.”
Surprisingly, the kind of turn of offer on Day 1 was one you usually find by Day 4 or 5. Exploiting the rank turner of Mumbai, Panesar dismissed Virender Sehwag, Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni and R Ashwin for his other four wickets, but the wicket of Tendulkar will always take the cake. Panesar must cherish dismissing Tendulkar as his first Test wicket, but even that promises to emerge a close second as compared to Mumbai 2012.
“Sometimes it’s the visualisation, isn’t it?” Panesar says. “I remember when I listened to Glenn McGrath’s videos, he said it’s the feel. Sometimes I looked at the spot [on the pitch], sometimes it’s the feel. I didn’t think I was going to get the batsman out like that. I just thought, let me get this ball to hit the top of off stump. Sachin paaji tried to play it towards mid-on, and it kind of pitched and hit off stump.”
The ball to Tendulkar is the stuff of legends but where does it compare with Shane Warne’s ‘ball of the century’ to Mike Gatting? Well, Panesar reckons that not only it is right up there, it’s perhaps even better than the one Warne bowled to dismiss the former England captain during the first Test of the 1993 Ashes.
“You look at that delivery,” Panesar says. “His balance was perfect, but he completely misjudged the length, the curve on the ball, and he honestly thought it was just a ball that is going to skid on, with the pace that I bowled, towards leg stump. But it didn’t.”It was a great ball. It was something that I would say was probably a better ball than Shane Warne [to Mike Gatting].”