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England to field two spinners in first Test

December 10, 2008 15:49 IST

Hoping to extract turn on an otherwise flat track, England skipper Kevin Pietersen disclosed that he will go into the first Test against

India with a two-pronged spin attack comprising Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann.

"It's a decision we have taken because we think that the wicket may spin. We had a look at the wicket and I think it would spin and (having two spinners) probably gives us the best attacking option," Pietersen said on Wednesday.

"Swann bowled absolutely fantastically up to this Test match and to give him a debut is well-deserved. In terms of our attack, it is pretty important we go with two spinners. It doesn't matter how good you play the spinners. You still got to play spin well on the day. We will be keen and ready for the Indian batsmen. We have to wait and see. Swann did well against India as off-spinner," he said.

The build-up to the series has been far from ideal for the beleaguered Englishmen, who abandoned the last two matches of the seven-ODI series after the terror strikes in Mumbai. Pietersen and co. then had to deal with a fortnight of uncertainty before their security experts gave the go ahead for the Test series.

Pietersen, however, asserted that his men are now firmly focussed on the job at hand.

He felt Yuvraj Singh would be under pressure in his comeback Test match.

"There will be lot of pressure on Yuvraj Singh. We have seen him in one dayers. It is interesting to see how he is going to play short balls," he said.

Pietersen, however, refused to call out-of-form Rahul Dravid a weak link in the Indian team.

"Never ever say that. Rahul is a soft link in any batting line-up. He is such a fantastic player. He was not one of the best in the world and called 'Wall' for nothing. We have got to do a job because he is such a fantastic player. It is going to be tough but we have got to do some hard work," he said.

Asked whether the series would be the toughest challenge of his career, Pietersen replied, "Of course it is a tough series. My whole career has been tough and I do not mind playing cricket in tough situations as it is going to be more rewarding."

He lauded his opposite number Mahendra Singh Dhoni for his composure.

"Dhoni is a good leader, a confident player. He is really calm and cool and collected," he said.

England team: Alastair Cook, Andrew Strauss, Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen (captain), Paul Collingwood, Andrew Filntoff, Matt Prior, Graeme Swann, Stephen Harmison, James Anderson, Monty Panesar.

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