Pietersen back to his best
Posted in England in Australia 2010-11
Form is temporary; class is permanent.
Forgive me for starting this blog with such a tired old cliché, but these were the first words that sprung to mind as I watched Kevin Pietersen compile a magnificent unbeaten double century in the second Ashes Test at Adelaide.
Prior to this sparkling innings, which had yielded 213 runs before rain forced a premature end to proceedings on day three, it had been 21 long months since the South Africa-born batsman had reached three figures in a Test match - an astonishing statistic given the obvious talent he possesses.
It is a measure of Pietersen’s ability that he is still regarded by most as England’s best batsman, despite his recent struggles.
Today, he showed exactly why this is the case as he dominated Australia’s attack in imperious fashion.
Pietersen looked in excellent touch from the moment he strode to the crease on Saturday afternoon, with the tourists already strongly placed following a second-wicket partnership of 173 between Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott.
The same two batsmen had shared a record-breaking alliance of 329 in Brisbane, so by the time England’s number four was finally called into action, he, by his own admission, was dying to make an impact.
On a pitch offering little assistance to the home attack, Pietersen wasted no time in stamping his authority on proceedings, playing positively in attack and defence and demonstrating the range of strokes that make him one of the most destructive players in the modern game.
He did not offer a chance on his way to a 158-ball hundred containing 15 fours, but the best was yet to come.
Although he had hardly looked short of confidence at any stage of his innings, it was clear that Pietersen gained immense, and understandable, relief from ending his long wait for a century.
For the remainder of the morning session, the 30-year-old was back to his brilliant best, collecting boundaries almost at will and racing from 100 to 150 in 52 balls.
One of many highlights saw Xavier Doherty - the man selected in an attempt to exploit Pietersen’s apparent weakness against left-arm spin - dispatched over long-off for a glorious six.
And although Pietersen was unable to maintain quite the same level of fluency after lunch, he still appeared in total control as he passed 200 for the second time in his Test career.
The prospect of further rain may deny Pietersen the opportunity of adding to his score when play resumes on day four, but Australia will surely be concerned by his emphatic return to form with more than half of the series still to come.
England’s biggest star is finally back in the limelight once again and one thing is for sure - he will be determined to stay there.