Pietersen leads Surrey fightback
Kevin Pietersen helped revive Surrey's hopes of victory after they had suffered a batting failure against Worcestershire in the LV= County Championship clash at New Road.
In his only county match before the first Investec Test against West Indies at Lord’s next week, the England batsman was dismissed for 11 in a first-innings score of 113, but cruised to 69 from 85 balls as Surrey reached 216 for four at the second time of asking after following on 172 behind.
They go into the final day holding a lead of 44, with Rory Hamilton-Brown and Tom Maynard unbeaten on 50 and 63 respectively.
The difference between a cloudy morning - when Pietersen was out, caught behind, driving at Richard Jones’ fifth delivery - and easier conditions on a sunny afternoon was measured by the way the England batsman collared the bowling at the second attempt.
The first player in the match to drive down the ground with any certainty, he demonstrated exactly why he believes he has never batted better by dominating a stand of 87 with Steven Davies, who made 24.
His fifty arrived during an assault which brought 31 from 11 balls off Moeen Ali and James Cameron, but, with 10 fours and a six in the book, he was lured into an error as the impressive Jones claimed his eighth wicket of the day.
Advancing down he pitch, he was forced to rein back his attacking move when the ball bounced and perhaps left him a shade. A hasty defensive jab only directed a catch to Daryl Mitchell at second slip.
It was a disappointing end to a rousing counter-attack which began as Surrey faced a potential re-run of the opening session on losing two wickets to the fired-up Jones.
Jacques Rudolph, last out in the first innings after batting through for 68, departed for the second time in half an hour and Mark Ramprakash registered his second duck of the day. A thin edge down the leg side carried to wicketkeeper Ben Scott and completed only his second pair in 26 seasons of county cricket.
For the first half of the day, the ball moved around on a seamer-friendly surface.
Davies, flashing to gully, and Ramprakash, leg before as he propped forward, went in successive overs from David Lucas, who claimed 4-37.
Jones, who chipped in with 4-50 before adding a further four wickets in the second innings, followed up his first-over dismissal of Pietersen by removing Hamilton-Brown with an edge to second slip.
It would have been worse for Surrey if Mitchell had not dropped two slip chances off Rudolph before he reached double figures.
The South Africa batsman went on to complete his first fifty for Surrey but the only lasting support came from championship debutant George Edwards, who made 17 before he fell to Lucas to end a ninth-wicket stand of 60.
Alan Richardson closed the innings by flattening Rudolph’s middle stump but the tide began to turn against Worcestershire when their 37-year-old leading wicket-taker went off injured.
Having bowled only nine balls, Richardson left the field, clearly in discomfort after straining his upper right arm.