Perth (Australia), Dec 14: Ashes debutant Monty
Panesar spun England back into the series on the opening day
of the Third cricket Test against Australia at the Waca ground
here on Thursday, claiming five wickets as the home side were
dismissed for 244.
Needing at least a draw to keep their Ashes defence
alive, the tourists were energised by the finger spin of
Panesar and produced some of their best bowling of the series
to dismiss the Australians cheaply after they won the toss
and chose to bat.
The home side struck back late in the day to have
England 51 for two at stumps, with Andrew Strauss on 24 and
Paul Collingwood on 10.
The Australians removed opener Alastair Cook and no.3
Ian Bell cheaply, Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee picking up a
wicket apiece, while Shane Warne dropped Collingwood at first
slip off Stuart Clark late in the day.
Although local player Mike Hussey held the Australian
innings together with an unbeaten 74, Panesar grabbed 5-92
from 24 overs and a rejuvenated Steve Harmison took 4-48 to
rock the home side's hopes of wrapping up the Ashes here.
Panesar, controversially overlooked for the first two
tests, claimed his third five-wicket haul in his short Test
career and became just the fourth left-arm spinner to claim
five wickets in a test at the Waca.
Called into the attack just minutes before lunch, Panesar
had an immediate impact and celebrated when he claimed opener
Justin Langer's wicket with his seventh ball and the last
delivery before the break.
Langer was clean bowled when he pushed forward
defensively and played down the wrong line.
It was the start of an extraordinary day for Panesar.
He took some damage from the recalled Andrew Symonds,
who hit two sixes in three balls and took 17 runs off
Panesar's 13th over.
However, the spinner had his revenge in the following
over when Symonds cut at a shortish delivery and got a thin
edge to wicketkeeper Geraint Jones, who snared the catch at
the second attempt.
Panesar's next over saw him claim the prized wicket of
Adam Gilchrist, who walked when he was caught without scoring
by a diving Ian Bell at short-leg after the ball came off the
pad and brushed his gloves.
Australia then slumped to 214 for seven when Panesar
struck again to remove an aggressive Shane Warne, who
attempted to cut him and got a fine edge into the gloves of
Panesar grabbed his fifth wicket when Brett Lee stretched
forward and was adjudged LBW by umpire Aleem Dar.
While Panesar was the hero, embattled paceman Steve
Harmison bounced back strongly to pick up four wickets,
including a sharp catch off his own bowling to remove the
dangerous Michael Clarke for 37.
Harmison was under siege after claiming just one wicket
in the first two tests, but claimed the crucial wicket of
Australian captain Ricky Ponting, trapped lbw for two.
There was a slight question over the height of the
delivery but Harmison was elated to have an early victim
after his woes in the first two tests.