Pietersen delights in double ton
Kevin Pietersen ranks his sensational double hundred against India among the best innings of his England career.
After struggling to find his best form yesterday, Pietersen cut a different figure on the second day of the first npower Test having resumed on 22 not out.
The 31-year-old, in the main, looked totally assured in giving a wonderful example of perfect Test batsmanship for most of the day before going on to display the kind of dominance that has epitomised his career.
Having reached his century from 216 balls, Pietersen began to tick as only he knows how and reached his eventual total of 202 from just 326 deliveries, of which only 25 were used to compile his final fifty.
His swashbuckling display lit up the home of cricket and he believes this double hundred – his third in the five-day arena – potentially represents his best performance in an England shirt.
“It’s definitely something to be proud of,” Pietersen said. “There are some fairly complementary things being said to me in the dressing room.
“Given the conditions I batted in yesterday and, having to face (India captain Mahendra Singh) Dhoni for half an hour, I think it’s right up there with hundreds I have scored.
“I’ve never had to work harder; they bowled really well with the swinging ball and the pitch was seaming as well. I was missing some balls by a couple of inches on occasions and it was real hard graft.”
On the back of Pietersen’s tour de force, England were able to declare on 474 for eight and bowl six overs at the tourists.
That spell did not yield the breakthrough they were seeking and Pietersen admits they are all too aware of the challenge ahead as they aim to secure victory at a venue where draws are the norm.
“It’s very difficult to say (how the game will go),” he added. “The history of Lord’s suggests it is quite difficult to win Tests here.”
However, Pietersen did offer a suggestion that this encounter could be different given the assistance the wicket is giving the bowlers.
“The wicket is still doing a lot for the seamers. It is swinging and if we can get the ball swinging then the conditions will be alien to the Indian batsmen," he explained.
“It would have been interesting to see where India would have been had they been batting first. But, having put on a first-innings score of 474, we are in a pretty good position.”
For India, the star was undoubtedly Praveen Kumar, who – in the enforced absence of usual lynchpin Zaheer Khan – led the attack with aplomb to take his first Test five-wicket haul.
His figures of 5-106 were reward for an exhibition of how to use the swinging ball, with his control impressive throughout.
Praveen’s performance ensures him a place on the much-fabled Lord’s honours board and he could not hide his delight at having played at the venue.
“It was a dream to play here,” he said. “The weather was nice and it felt really nice to get the five wickets.”
Praveen does not believe being tasked with spearheading India’s charge put him under unnecessary pressure, insisting he thrived on the extra workload.
“It was not a question of pressure (to fill in for Zaheer), it was just a question of motivating myself,” he added.
“I liked it because I have been bowling 30 to 35 overs in domestic cricket as well. We all bowled well and stuck to our plans.”