Swann savours Panesar pairing
Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar have yet to experience a Test victory when they have bowled in tandem for England, but after sharing nine India first-innings wickets at the Wankhede they remain hopeful that they can finally put that right at the eighth attempt.
Swann took three of the last four India wickets to fall on the second day in Mumbai, including his 200th Test wicket, providing much-needed support for Panesar at a time when India seemed to be taking the game away from England. Instead, the game is a tight one with England, 178 for 2 at the close of the second day, trailing by 149.
"We love playing together but our record as a team hasn't been that successful when we have done so we are looking to change that," Swann said. "I'm a big advocate of playing two spinners. I love playing with Monty - I grew up with him at Northamptonshire.
"I love it when he takes a wicket. That face like a man possessed when he got Sachin Tendulkar out yesterday - I have never seen a man so wound up in my life."
Swann, who began the series with a 51-over marathon in India's first innings in Ahmedabad, cannot survive that sort of workload, especially bearing in mind his susceptible elbow, but England need a change in fortune when he teams up with Panesar.
In fairness to both, it has been England's vulnerability when batting against spin, rather than their own bowling limitations, which makes their own record appear such a poor one.
Swann prefers the Wankhede track to the one he toiled on at Motera. "Even though there is turn and bounce it is a very nice wicket to bat on," he said. "It is going to start spinning more but good Test pitches should do that.
"This pitch is better to bowl spin on than last week. There is a lot more bounce in the pitch. We are used to more bounce so maybe it evens the teams out a bit. But we are not at a stage of the game where we can say we will win this now. The main thing is we are in a good position in the game."
Swann had a particular reason to be grateful for another partnership - but this time it was two batsmen working in tandem. When Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen reached the close unscathed, with their third wicket stand worth 110 runs, it spared Swann an unexpected nightwatchman's role.
England had kept faith in the job of nightwatchman, they had just replaced the man employed to do it, Jimmy Anderson. With Tim Bresnan, another candidate dropped, Swann, as their most capable lower-order batsman against spin, found the role thrust upon him.
"Apart from me having my pads on as nightwatchman it was a very calm changing room," Swann said. "I don't know why it was me. I think I lost the toss."
Swann become the first English offspinner to complete 200 Test wickets when he dismissed Harbhajan Singh. Only Derek Underwood lies ahead of him. "Five years ago I wouldn't have dreamt of taking 200 wickets," he said. "The change at the top was just at the right time for me."
The change was Duncan Fletcher's departure as England coach. Swann was never his type. As he relished his 200th wicket, Swann must have been delighted that Fletcher been forced to watch him reach it.
David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo