Thursday 12 December 2019

Pietersen double ton rallies England

Rory Dollard

A mighty double hundred from Kevin Pietersen, his first century at home for nearly three years, put England in charge on day two of the first Test against India at Lord's.

Having last reached three figures in England in August 2008, Pietersen chose the occasion of the 2,000th Test to score 202 not out, his fifth ton at the home of cricket, 18th Test century and third score over 200.

Pietersen's innings started doggedly, and he can consider himself fortunate to have survived a debated catch on 49, but by the declaration on 474-8 he was at his swaggering best.

In all Pietersen had batted for over eight hours, hitting 21 fours and a six and passing 6,000 Test runs in the process.

India, meanwhile, survived a tricky five overs at the close to reach 17 without loss. They had toiled for large periods without their stricken spearhead Zaheer Khan, absent with a hamstring strain, though there was some joy for Praveen Kumar.

The swing bowler twice took two wickets in an over to check English momentum and closed with five for 106 to join Pietersen on the famous honours board.

England resumed yesterday morning on 127-2, with Jonathan Trott driving the first boundary of the day off Praveen and Pietersen immediately more assured than during his skittish 22-run cameo on Thursday. Trott looked typically solid and it was a surprise to see Praveen trap him lbw on the back foot for 70.

Pietersen's 50 followed off 134 deliveries, the longest Pietersen has ever taken to reach that mark.

Harbhajan Singh was bowling to some defensive fields but was struggling to contain England, Pietersen timing a four over mid-off and Ian Bell scoring briskly on both sides of the wicket.

Pietersen then clubbed an aggressive, though not entirely impressive, stroke off Ishant Sharma for two to bring up the 200.

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