England spinner Graeme Swann salutes Kevin Pietersen's innings against India in Mumbai
Graeme Swann has hailed Kevin Pietersen after his innings helped calm England's early nerves against India in Mumbai.
Last Updated: 25/11/12 8:55am
The spin of Swann (4-17) and Monty Panesar (5-129) combined impressively to rattle out the hosts for 327, but England's response looked edgy at 68-2 after the swift demise of Nick Compton and Jonathan Trott.
But the tourists steadied the ship with skipper Alastair Cook (87 not out) and Pietersen (62no) producing an unbroken stand of 110, needing another 149 to level the score.
On the back of their opening Test defeat it was a critical effort at the crease and Swann said: "Kevin showed what a class player he is. We all know how good a player he is.
"It is great to see him being so positive and playing some old-fashioned KP shots. I'm sure he'll be keen to dig in on Sunday, as will Cookie, and make this partnership massive.
"It's very important you don't get to 30 for three, 30 for four, sending shockwaves through the changing room.
"If you get off to a good start, and have guys at the crease who are comfortable, it does have a calming influence.
"Apart from me having my pads on as nightwatchman, it was a very calm changing room."
It was another outstanding effort from Cook who is 13 runs short of his fourth hundred in as many Tests as England skipper to follow up his second-innings 176 in Ahmedabad.
Swann, who earlier passed 200 Test wickets, added: "I said before the series that if Cookie's batting could blossom as a captain, as it did in the one-day arena, we'd be a very lucky team.
"He's batted magnificently in the three innings he's played so far."
And regarding reaching his wicket milestone, the Nottinghamshire off-spinner said: "Five years ago, I wouldn't have dreamed of taking 200 Test wickets.
"I'm absolutely over the moon the way my career has panned out for me."
And with team-mate Panesar weighing in with a five-wicket haul, Swann said: "Monty bowled magnificently. It's great to see, because I'm a big advocate of playing two spinners - I love playing with Monty.
"I just love it when he takes a wicket. That face like a man possessed, when he got Sachin Tendulkar out yesterday, I've never seen a man so wound up in my life as Mont there - it was brilliant."