Pietersen back with a double, Adelaide, day three

Rain in the air

Close: as below

Heavy rain meant the players didn’t come out again after tea. In his press conference a surprisingly subdued Kevin Pietersen confirmed that England would not be declaring overnight – the lead is 306, so you would imagine England will open up before lunch, giving themselves at least a day and two sessions to bowl Australia out with a lead of over 400. Rain is expected to play some part in proceedings, but not enough to deny England the victory, especially once Graeme Swann saw the turn that a spinner as limited as Marcus North was able to extract.

It’s been an odd 18 months for Pietersen. When we look back it will probably make sense – he has lost the captaincy, his fitness, his form and then his confidence – no one is  immune to misfortune. Yet there have been times recently when it seemed possible that the implausible could happen, that mind might win over matter and given a bit of bad luck and some more low scores an impulsive man might lose his love for the game. Fortunately 213 not out happened first. He is a showman – the most extraordinary, unorthodoxly logical batsman most of us will ever see, and it’s bloody good to have him back.

Tea: second Test, day three, Adelaide
Match score: England 551-4 (Pietersen 213*, Bell 41*) lead Australia 245 (Hussey 93, Haddin 56, Anderson 4-51 ) by 306 runs
Session score: England 102-1 England win
Session in six words: Pietersen gets double and poses hard

Today is all about Kevin Pietersen. A double-hundred and a celebration that made Andrew Flintoff look as self-effacing as Paul Scholes confirms beyond all doubt that the ego is BACK. Another miserable session for Australia – the rain clouds that had gathered as the players left for tea look their sole hope of escape.

England lost Paul Collingwood straight after lunch, lbw to Shane Watson, but that was almost a footnote. Collingwood and Pietersen had added 101, Pietersen and Bell now 99, they need one more run to mean that an extraordinary six out of the last seven English partnerships have been 100+. Being an Australian bowler is not much fun at the moment – how they would have liked Jason Gillespie, whose statue was unveiled outside the members today, who was third bowler in the Australian side for much of his career but would have without doubt led this current mob.

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Pietersen was awesome, his presence only debilitated by cramp, although that disappeared quickly went he needed to sprint those extra yards for his 200th run, as he effected a running-kneel, like a cross between a bodybuilder and a Transformer. You almost feel sorry for Bell – form and maturity have coincided suddenly and perfectly and this could well have been his series. As it is today, despite looking England’s most in-control batsman, he is playing the Pizza boy in the Kevin Pietersen story, feat. Alastair Cook.

KP celebrates his hundred

Lunch: second Test, day three, Adelaide
Match score: England 449-3 (Pietersen 158*, Collingwood 40*) lead Australia 245 (Hussey 93, Haddin 56, Anderson 4-51 ) by 204 runs
Session score: England 132-1 England win
Session in six words: Pietersen finally gets that elusive hundred

Today looks like it will all be about Kevin Pietersen. Alastair Cook shuffled off midway through the session, caught behind from a worthy piece of bowling from Ryan Harris, as if to say – “it’s all yours KP”. Cook is entitled to a rest – he had gone almost 18 hours without being dismissed and batted more than 22 hours in the series so far.

Cook stayed long enough to guide Pietersen to his hundred, brought up with a clip of his hips rather than the boundary he would have dreamt of. He didn’t play many defensive shots before or after – Bollinger met the Flamingo, and Siddle lost some bouncer warfare as comprehensively as you can imagine. “That was a pie, add some mash and take four”, screamed the commentary. KP doesn’t pass up free pie. First hundred for 39 first-class innings and 27 Test innings – crisis, what crisis?

Harris was the pick of the Australian bowlers again, thoroughly deserving Cook’s wicket, although it was Pietersen that he had roughed up in the few balls previously with some well-directed bouncers. Pietersen soon regained his composure – he likes batting with Collingwood at Adelaide, and when lunch came round the only thing worrying him would have been being on 158, a score he has fallen for twice against Australia (including 2006-07 here) and three times in Tests.

On the boundary Australians drank and shouted some not particularly nice stuff at their team.


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