ENGLAND off spinner Monty Panesar would have had the last laugh by stumps on day one of the second Ashes Test at Adelaide Oval yesterday, if it was not for two dropped catches off his bowling.
The Australians finished at 5-273 on a day where neither side rarely found itself a long way in front.
It was Panesar who was given extra ammunition to perform well before the day's play began - and it wasn't just because of his recall into the England team.
An apology was issued after a picture of four bearded, turbaned men dressed up as Teletubbies, with the caption "will the real Monty Panesar please stand up?" was posted on a Twitter account.
The account-holders responsible? Cricket Australia.
The tweet was removed and an apology posted after it drew howls of outrage from around the world.
Panesar, 31, first missed a caught and bowled chance off George Bailey when he was 10, with Australia at 4-190.
Bailey went on to make 53.
He then should have had wicketkeeper Brad Haddin (seven not out) caught after Michael Carberry coughed up a simple chance at gully late in the day.
Haddin was five and with Australia at 5-266, a late wicket would have given England all the momentum this morning.
Panesar did stand up on one occasion though, bowling a clueless Steve Smith for six just before the tea break.
That put the Poms back in the contest at 4-174.
The Aussies were 1-155 at one stage, before a middle-order collapse saw Shane Watson (51), Chris Rogers (72) and Smith fall for 19 runs.
That left the familiar sight of captain Michael Clarke (48 not out) trying to restore order once again.
But Clarke, who averages more than 100 in Adelaide, was also put down by a diving Joe Root off Graeme Swann at mid-wicket when he was 18, and the score 4-205.
He and Bailey combined for an 83-run partnership.
Late in the day, Bailey was caught superbly by Swann at square leg from a Stuart Broad (2-61) bouncer.
Earlier, Watson and Rogers also somewhat silenced their critics, with both coming into this game following low scores in the first Test at the Gabba.
But like Panesar, the top-order duo could have done more to keep their critics at bay. Rogers showed little foot movement to fall caught behind, attempting a cut shot off Swann, just minutes after Watson also played a poor shot.
Watson, with just three hundreds from 47 Tests, again failed to convert a good score into a ton, pushing a catch with uncertainty back to paceman James Anderson (1-56).
English selectors could feel partly vindicated for including two spinners on a slow drop-in Adelaide Oval deck.
Swann took 1-55 and Panesar 1-68, but both could have had better figures if England held its catches.
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