Panesar and Pietersen lead the way to famous Test victory
Spin bowler Monty Panesar builds on batsman Kevin Pietersen's heroic 186 to level the series
ENGLAND'S cricketers levelled the current Test series in emphatic style last night with a 10-wicket win over India in Mumbai sealed by the devastating form of its spin bowlers Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar.
Building on heroic first innings centuries by man of the match Kevin Pietersen and England's captain Alastair Cook, Swann and Panesar swept through the Indian batting line-up to end the match with a 19-wicket haul. India were all out for 142 and the "famous victory" raises hopes England may clinch its first series victory in India for 28 years, says The Times.
The paper's cricket correspondent Mike Atherton says the conditions in Mumbai appeared "tailor-made" for India's spin bowlers, making England's first Test victory in India since 2006 all the more surprising.
India now finds itself "in a pickle of their own stewing, outgunned it seems in both the spinning and seam departments," says Atherton. "The fear is that the home team will now decide on a U-turn in strategy and order flat batting pitches, which would retract from the kind of thrilling cricket that was witnessed over the last three and a half days in Mumbai."
For Pietersen, voted man of the match after an impressive first innings knock of 186, the victory was particularly sweet. The South African-born batsman has been "re-integrated" into the England line-up after being ousted for sending abusive text messages about team-mates to opposition South Africa players during the Headingley Test.
Pietersen's century – his best for England, he says – "answered the final question of his 'reintegration' in style," says The Daily Mail.
The Daily Telegraph's Scyld Berry goes further, saying Pietersen's century "was not only his best innings, but also the best ever by an England batsman in India. Or make that the best ever by an England batsman in Asia."
Berry went on: "It [the century] contained all the ingredients of greatness, and something more. Love him, like him or loathe him, let us recognise that what he did with his bat in this Test match was nothing short of genius."
The BBC says England's win leaves the series "tantalisingly poised" going into the third Test in Kolkata starting on 5 December, with the finale in Nagpur to follow. ·