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Swann has West Indies on back foot

ENGLAND spinner Graeme Swann took full advantage of his unexpected recall with a potentially match-winning five-wicket performance on Tuesday.

Omitted from the starting line-up for last week's postponed second test, Swann's return of five for 57 was instrumental in helping England dismiss West Indies for 285 as the tourists forged a 312-run lead with nine second innings wickets remaining.

The Nottinghamshire off-spinner only won back his place when the third test was hastily re-arranged for a Sunday start at the Recreation Ground after outfield problems at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium forced organizers to change the tour schedule.

"I found out I was playing on the morning of the game, I was warned the night before that I had a good chance of playing and then I was given the nod," Swann told reporters.

"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 been slumped in some bar somewhere," he added with a grin.

Swann said his diligence in practice, particularly when bowling to captain Andrew Strauss, had probably helped him get in the side.

"In the 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," he said.

"I suppose that played into my hands a little. I didn't do anything different to what I'd been doing the whole trip."

England chose left-armer Monty Panesar for the first test defeat in Kingston after Swann ended the pre-test tour game against West Indies A with figures of 0-160 from 41 overs.

Prior to Tuesday's play, attention had focused on the ridge in the wicket caused by soccer pitch halfway line markings, which many expected would give a boost to the quick bowlers.

"Maybe that played into my hands," Swann admitted.

"Everyone was expecting the halfway line to play havoc with the game, but I think only one ball has done anything stupid ... or at least got a wicket. Maybe people have been a little preoccupied with that."

Andrew Flintoff collected 3-47. England reached stumps on 31-1 in its second innings.

One of Swann's wickets was Ramnaresh Sarwan, who holed out to midwicket on 94 while trying to bring up his hundred with a six.

Sarwan admitted it was a poor choice at a crucial time.

"I'm very disappointed I got out on 94. To get out at that time and at that position in the game put us back as well," Sarwan said.

"I was actually trying to hit it straight but for some reason my bat spun in my hand.

"It's not a shot that I really want to talk about too much because I'm really disappointed I played that shot at that particular time.

"I thought I worked pretty hard throughout the whole innings. I was concentrating pretty hard and to play a shot like that at that point of the game was really disappointing."


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