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Panesar's chance to bowl his way back into England spot
Monty Panesar will get the opportunity to bowl himself into the England team for the third Ashes Test next week after being included in a 13-man Sussex squad to play Australia today.
England are thought to be considering playing two spinners at Old Trafford next week with Panesar understood to be favourite to partner Graeme Swann despite his inconsistent form for Sussex this season. Panesar has taken only 21 Championship wickets at a cost of 40 apiece but showed signs he was returning to his best by claiming his second five-wicket haul in the defeat by Middlesex last week in front of England selector Ashley Giles.
The left-arm spinner has not played a home Test since a last-wicket stand with Jimmy Anderson helped save the first Ashes Test at Cardiff in 2009 but is believed to be still ahead of James Tredwell in the pecking order as England’s No.2 spinner.
Sussex coach Mark Robinson said: “I think there is a very good chance England will play two spinners next week and I would say that Monty is still second choice behind Swann.
“He’s bowled quite well in the last three Championship matches going back to Trent Bridge and in the last game he bowled as well as he has this season. He turned it in that game and had a better rhythm.
“Monty is getting there but he hasn’t been helped by a lack of continuity due to not being in the t20 team. He has not had much bowling in the last month so it will be a good opportunity for him against Australia.
“I don’t think it is a game where he has to go out and take five or six wickets to secure a place in the next Test. He can’t control if the fielders catch the ball but he can control whether he gets his action right and bowls at the right pace.”
Chris Jordan could also catch the eye of the selectors if he regains his impressive form from early in the summer. Jordan is the leading wicket-taking in division one of the Championship with 47 but struggled in the last match against Middlesex.
Robinson added: “CJ hasn’t bowled as well as he would want in the last two Championship games so from that point of view this is a good opportunity for him to find his rhythm and get back to the way he was bowling a few months ago. We are also mindful of the amount of overs he has bowled so we will protect him by managing his workload.”