'Panesar our No. 1 Test spinner' - Moores
Peter Moores, England's coach, has backed Monty Panesar over Graeme Swann for a place in the Tests against Sri Lanka.
"Certainly he is our No. 1 Test match spinner. You would expect him to do well over here," Moores said. "Monty has proved he is an outstanding Test match bowler, and has been over the last couple of years."
Moores quashed speculation that Swann, the offspinner who was preferred to Panesar in the ODI series against Sri Lanka, might play ahead of Panesar as he is a better batsman and fielder.
"Nothing against Graeme, because he has done well in the one-day games, but he still has stuff to do," Moores said. "He has a great opportunity because he showed in one-day cricket what an aggressive spinner he can be and at times we might play two.
"Monty has taken his wickets at 30 [runs] apiece, which is very good. He will be looking at this trip as a chance to keep that progression going. The one thing you can say about Monty is that he has grown a lot as a bowler in the last few Test matches."
Panesar, for his part, is not taking his place for granted and says he is ready for the challenge to his position as first-choice spinner.
" I'm used to being in these positions where I don't know if I'm going to play or not," he told the Daily Mirror, "but I'll just keep giving myself the best chance. I remember when I was out for two years, not playing first-class cricket. I could easily have given up ... but you just keep persevering, keep staying patient, and you gradually think your chance will come if you keep doing that. That's the way I try and do things."
England play two three-day warm-up games in Colombo before the first Test starts in Kandy on December 1.