Pietersen and Strauss hit top form
Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Strauss warmed up for next week’s first Investec Test against South Africa in style on another rain-hit day of LV= County Championship action.
Showers prevented play in three of the six fixtures today, but Pietersen and Strauss were given the opportunity to prosper at Uxbridge and Guildford respectively and took full advantage.
Pietersen was at his dominant best for Surrey against defending champions Lancashire. In an astonishing display of power and skill, he raced to 234 not out from 190 deliveries - the highest score of the domestic season to date.
His remarkable innings, which contained 30 fours and eight sixes, helped Surrey to 430 for five in response to the Red Rose’s 485 for seven declared, which featured 154 not out from Steven Croft.
Zander de Bruyn offered fine support to Pietersen, who took a particular liking to Simon Kerrigan’s left-arm spin, with 94 as Lancashire’s bowlers toiled.
England’s Test captain Strauss, in his first outing since the five-day matches against West Indies, followed up his first-innings 50 with 127 not out as Middlesex, aided by further rain, boosted their hopes of avoiding defeat against Division One leaders Nottinghamshire.
Chris Rogers’ side moved on to 239 for two and a lead of eight before the evening session was washed out for a second day.
Rogers was the only batsman to fall on the third day of four, lbw to Harry Gurney after contributing 59 to a second-wicket partnership of 143 with Strauss.
Another batsman involved in the England set-up, albeit at Lions level, stole the show at the Ageas Bowl.
Opener Joe Root compiled a career-best 222 not out, the first double hundred in Division Two this summer, as Yorkshire recovered from a shaky start to post 350 for nine declared against Hampshire.
The visitors had been in trouble on 161 for seven, but Root finally found a willing ally in Steven Patterson, who faced 127 balls for his 37 and helped add 121 for the eighth wicket.
Root moved into top gear when left with last man Moin Ashraf, thumping 54 from the final 27 deliveries he faced.
Hampshire reached 39 without loss in reply, but a draw appears inevitable.
Division One’s two bottom teams, Worcestershire and Durham, remain winless after rain prevented any action on the fourth day at New Road.
The second day of Warwickshire’s meeting with Sussex at Edgbaston also fell victim to the elements, with the hosts having reached 175 for three yesterday.
Gloucestershire and Essex were unable to take the field at Cheltenham, meaning the former head into the final day on 284 for four in their first innings.