Graeme grabs his chance | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 19, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 19, 2009

Graeme grabs his chance

Graeme Swann grabbed the chance of his surprise selection to bowl England to a 281-run lead over West Indies in the third Test on Tuesday.
The off-spin bowler captured five wickets for 57 runs from 24 overs, as West Indies were dismissed for 285, replying to England's first innings total of 566 for nine declared on the third day at the Antigua Recreation Ground.
Swann had not been picked to play in the aborted second Test at the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground -- Monty Panesar was England's preferred spin bowling option.
But Swann admitted he must have bowled really well in the nets to have gained a place in the final 11 two days later when the Test was hastily arranged for the ARG.
"In nets, I've always tried to bowl as well as I can at the captain and luckily for me (our) captain is a left-hander and West Indies are full of them," Swann said. "I suppose that played into my hands a little."
He added: "I was warned the night before that I had a good chance of playing and then I was given the nod.
"When you are on tour you have the same amount of preparation as everyone else, so you're all ready to go. If I'd been back in England I'd probably have been slumped in some bar somewhere."
Swann's off-spin bowling, rather than the fast bowling, provided England with the wickets at critical stages throughout the day.
The ARG pitch was expected to misbehave, particularly a ridge in the middle of the pitch, but England's fast bowlers were not accurate enough, and batting was not the lottery it was expected to be.
"Maybe that played into my hands," he said. "Everyone was expecting the (ridge) to play havoc with the game, but I think only one ball has done anything stupid -- the one to Freddie (Flintoff) -- or at least got a wicket. Maybe people have been a little preoccupied with that."
England will now be preoccupied with building a match-winning lead after choosing not to enforce the follow-on and reaching 31 for one in the second innings at the close to establish a lead of 312 runs.

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