Cricket - Panesar ready to grasp chance

Monty Panesar is hoping to rejoin an England team ready to prove its true worth in the Boxing Day Test.

Panesar has an unexpected chance, following the shock retirement of his fellow spinner Graeme Swann, to help the tourists demonstrate they are far better than they have appeared so far in this winter's Ashes defeat.

The slow left-armer has already played once, as Swann's spin twin in Adelaide - where, as in Brisbane beforehand and Perth afterwards, England subsided to a wide-margin runs defeat.

The urn is therefore already in Australia's keeping, thanks to an unassailable 3-0 lead.

But for Panesar, there is the prospect in what will be his 50th Test if selected of proving a point for himself and his team.

"I would say they've been a bit more ruthless in their cricket," he said of England's hosts, who lost 3-0 in the first of this year's back-to-back Ashes series last summer.

"They've come quite hard at us - and you have to give credit to the Australians, the way they've played their game.

"They've fought really hard and always put us under pressure, never let us get back in the game.

"They've played a really strong brand of cricket, so we're hungry and determined to show what we can do to them as well.

"In these next two Tests we want to show what this team is about."

For 31-year-old Panesar personally, after his moderate showing in Adelaide and having played second fiddle to Swann for much of the past five years, Melbourne may be step one towards re-establishing himself as England's number one spinner.

"I hope I can take this opportunity and grab it," he said.

"It's up to me.

"I'm looking forward to it and geared up for it.

"If I can get my game in the right order then I hope I can take this chance."

Even with the Ashes gone, Panesar is relishing the big stage.

"Boxing Day Test - it doesn't get any more exciting than this, packed out, 100,000 people at the MCG.

"It's something all of us are looking forward to."

His first hope must be that he bowls significantly better than he did in Adelaide, where he ended up with match figures of two for 198.

"I probably didn't bowl at my best," he said.

"A few chances could have gone our way, but that's cricket.

"I hope I can bowl well in this Test and try to get back to my old ways with good rhythm."

Panesar will have competition in the slow-bowling stakes after England added spinners Scott Borthwick and James Tredwell to their squad.

Uncapped leg-spinner Borthwick will be available for the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne.

Off-spinner Tredwell, who has played just one Test - more than three years ago in Bangladesh - will also report to Melbourne but not in time to figure in the fourth Test.