But he then reminded the home side that they would have to deal with ''a different kettle of fish'' in Muttiah Muralitharan if they are to save the game.
Sri Lanka have an overall lead of 288 with two wickets still in hand and England, who lead the series 1-0, already need to score more than they have ever managed in a fourth innings at Trent Bridge.
''Monty was the guy we targeted to play well today,'' Penny told a news conference, ''Monty's a good bowler but we played him very well. We have Murali and he's a different kettle of fish.'' Penny said the track seemed just like a ''nice Sri Lankan wicket'', adding that the Edgbaston strip had also favoured the tourists.
''It seems pretty low and flat for the seamers but it will help spin. We have a lot of young players and it would be very exciting for us to win here.'' Panesar, who took three for 73 today, his best return in his six-test career, added: ''I try to keep patient with myself.
Muralitharan's in a totally different league, he's got more than 600 test wickets. I try to focus on my job within the England team and don't compare myself to people.'' England captain Andrew Flintoff ended the third day with a sore ankle, which curtailed his bowling.
Kevin Pietersen left the field with a sore hamstring but he and fellow batsman Paul Collingwood, who had a rib scan after being hit on Saturday by fast bowler Lasith Malinga, will be available to bat in the final innings.