Old Trafford record enough of a reason for England to pick Panesar

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If Monty Panesar is to play any active part in this Ashes series then it should be at Old Trafford, with a price of 3/1 offered that both he and Graeme Swann form a two-pronged spin attack for England’s third Test with Australia.

Playing two spinners is obviously something that selectors are considering, given that Panesar has been named in the 14-man party for the third Test, with seamer Chris Tremlett and batsman James Taylor the other names alongside the starting team that won so emphatically at Lord’s.

Given the size of the success, England are likely to remain unchanged, unless Kevin Pietersen fails to recover from a calf problem, which would logically mean a call-up for Taylor.

However, based on the record of spinners in general at Old Trafford, and in particular Panesar’s record at the ground, it may be decided that the left-arm bowler has a part to play, probably at the expense of Tim Bresnan.

Of the world bowlers still currently playing, nobody possesses a better bowling average at Old Trafford than Panesar, who has taken 25 wickets in 142 overs at an average of 16.72.

This includes five-wicket hauls against Pakistan, West Indies and New Zealand and 18 wickets across his last two Tests at the ground.

Meanwhile, of the 10 bowlers with the best career bowling averages at Old Trafford, six are spinners and Swann helped himself to a five-wicket haul in England’s last showdown at the ground against Bangladesh.

Three wickets representing Sussex against Australia in a three-day game ahead of the third Test would have done Panesar’s chances of selection no harm either.

England are clear favourites at 10/11 to win the third Test, which would also mean they retain the Ashes with two fixtures to spare.

Alternatively, Australia are 9/2 to keep the series alive with a victory, to take the series score to 2-1, heading to the fourth Test at Durham on August 9th.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.