We could have gone with “Monty Panesar’s back“, but we’ve actually done that joke about him twice before. You have to draw the line somewhere. We fully expect you all to now tell us that we’ve drawn that line incorrectly.
But let’s not bicker about whether a joke should be repeated word-for-word, again and again, until everyone loses the will to live; or with slightly different wordings, again and again, until people lose the will to live – this is a time for rejoicing. Monty Panesar is playing and entirely unsurprisingly, he’s taken four wickets. If we had the power, we would crown the man ‘king of good times’.
But what does his performance mean for the match?
The problem with an England spinner taking wickets on day one of a Test match is that he also stabs at the confidence of his batting team-mates, causing untold damage. Maybe it would have been better for the team if Panesar had wheeled away ineffectively and India had declared on 560-1. Not a team player. Drop him for the next Test.
The pitch is certainly doing a bit, but R Ashwin has 60, so it is at least possible to bat on it (at least late in the day, when the aggregation of marginal losses has come into effect). The batting approach should perhaps be similar to the last match – minimise damage until the going’s slightly easier.
Incidentally, we exclude Cheteshwar Pujara from the above analysis on the grounds that he is impossible to dismiss and very possibly an entirely different species from the England batsmen.