Swann keeps it simple, spins past 200
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It took 790 balls, spread over three innings in two different cities, before England could dismiss Cheteshwar Pujara. And the 790th ball was a peach. Pretty much every time Graeme Swann had given it air, Pujara had skipped down the track. This one drifted away, and kept going along that angle after pitching. Pujara, unbalanced, groped and missed. Matt Prior whipped off the bails.
In his previous over, Swann had taken his 200th Test wicket, with a quicker one to trap Harbhajan Singh, who had given away his intentions too early by moving across his crease. Soon, Swann moved to 202, with a bat-pad dismissal of Zaheer Khan that was more pad-ribcage, but the off spinner deserved a bit of luck.
At Ahmedabad, even as Swann picked up a five-for, all the talk was about England's decision to leave out Monty Panesar. On Day One at Mumbai, Panesar had run through the Indian top-order, even as Swann probed with little reward. Now, Panesar had five wickets; Swann had four. He had taken the last three Indian wickets in 11 balls, without conceding a run, and swelled his series tally to 10 wickets. And he had done this the simple way, the classical way.
Swann doesn't bowl the doosra or the carrom ball. But it would take a lazy observer, and a cricket-illiterate one, to say he doesn't have variations. The ball he bowled to get Yuvraj Singh was a case in point. Very often, he traps left-handers LBW from around the wicket with his slider, bowled with the seam rotating parallel to the ground, like the earth's equator. Yuvraj probably had this delivery in mind, and was thus defeated before Swann had even bowled. His front foot didn't move forward or across the crease. The ball wasn't the slider — it was an off break that straightened a mere hint. Yuvraj played down the wrong line and lost his off bail.
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