Magic Monty is the only ray of sunshine for sorry England
When England sift through the wreckage of this depressing defeat they will at least find one ray of light amid the darkness.
Monty Panesar's contribution on the final two days, when his haul of six for 62 manoeuvred his side into a winning position, was largely forgotten amid the post-match recriminations.
High fives: Monty Panesar
Yet the brave decision by captain Andrew Strauss and coach Andy Flower to include the left-arm spinner paid off. Yesterday he took his ninth five-wicket haul in Tests and the first since he took six for 37 against New Zealand in May 2008.
Shane Warne once quipped Panesar had 'played the same Test 39 times'.
In his 40th he was exactly what England needed – accurate, unerring and consistent.
Strauss admitted as much in the post-match inquest, saying: 'Monty has always been a top-quality bowler – you know what you are going to get. He is going to bowl 99 per cent of the balls in the right area. When there is a bit of turn, he can really exploit that, and it is fantastic to have him back.'
It inconceivable England will not make changes for next Friday's final Test in Dubai. But Panesar should keep his place regardless of the conditions. It is the batsmen who have cost England this series and that's where any changes should come.
The bowlers have done their best and with two sub-continental tours to come this year against Sri Lanka and India, Panesar has a big role to play.