Pietersen century hurts Somerset

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Kevin Pietersen struck an imperious 163 for Surrey on the opening day of their LV= County Championship Division One clash with Somerset at Taunton.

Batting for a minute short of four hours and facing 168 balls, Pietersen struck 20 fours and three sixes in recording his 45th first-class century.

The next highest score in Surrey’s innings of 317 all out was Zander de Bruyn’s 34. Sajid Mahmood, on loan from Lancashire, claimed 4-62 and struck Pietersen on the left hand towards the end of his innings.

That prevented the 32-year-old taking the field as Somerset plunged into trouble in reply, losing openers Arul Suppiah and Marcus Trescothick with only 16 on the board before closing on 42 for two.

Surrey had looked in a spot of bother themselves when Pietersen came out at number four with the score on 44.

Kevin Pietersen

Kevin Pietersen struck a sparkling century to take Surrey to a first-innings total of 317 on a tricky Taunton surface against Somerset today

He endured a sticky start, with two close lbw shouts and a couple of false shots, before emerging to reach his half-century off 66 balls, with seven fours.

From then on, Pietersen simply grew in stature, making batting look easy on a relaid wicket that produced variable bounce and offered some turn for George Dockrell.

There was no suggestion of a weakness against left-arm spin as Pietersen handled Dockrell with ease, moving to his hundred with a contemptuous flick off his pads through midwicket off Alfonso Thomas.

He was 119 not out at tea, which was taken with Surrey 240 for five, and brought up the 250 with a towering six off Dockrell into the River Tone, having straight driven the previous delivery for four.

Former Somerset player de Bruyn, Gary Wilson and Murali Kartik provided valuable support.

Kartik contributed 23 not out to a last-wicket stand of 32 that ensured a third batting point before Pietersen fell to a catch at the wicket, becoming Mahmood’s fourth victim.

Mahmood and Steve Kirby, with 3-34, were the pick of the Somerset attack, but Surrey’s total began to look more than useful when their seamers got to work.

Suppiah was caught behind for a duck off Jon Lewis, while Trescothick was surprised by the pace of Stuart Meaker and could only offer a soft return catch from a short ball having made three.

Meaker caused problems for Chris Jones and James Hildreth, who survived until the close, and will fancy his chances of making more inroads tomorrow.

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