Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Pietersen's Double Ton Proves Timely

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Pietersen's Double Ton Proves Timely

Article excerpt

KEVIN Pietersen's chanceless, unbeaten 213 could hardly have come in more appropriate circumstances - for himself or England, writes DAVID CLOUGH.

Pietersen unsurprisingly chose international cricket's oldest rivalry, and one of its biggest stages, to produce his first hundred for 21 months.

He did so too at a pivotal stage of the second Ashes Test at the Adelaide Oval, just when England needed some of his vintage best to make their advantage count against Australia.

By the time Pietersen reached stumps on day three, with 31 fours and a six to his name from 296 balls, he had not merely consolidated Alastair Cook's 148 but had thoroughly dismantled home morale.

Despite the threat of more rain - bad weather wiped out the final session - England's resulting 551-4, and lead of 306, has made them odds-on to go 1-0 up with three to play in their bid to win the Ashes down under for the first time in a quarter of a century.

Pietersen shared stands of 175 for the third wicket with Cook, 101 for the fourth with Durham's Paul Collingwood and an unbroken 99 with Ian Bell for the fifth.

With 85 already to his name at start of play, there was an inevitability - on this batsman's pitch, which Australia had squandered on day one - that he would post three figures for the first time in 28 Test innings, since Trinidad in March 2009.

As well as undergoing Achilles surgery and therefore missing the last three Tests of England's home Ashes win last year, he has threatened three figures several times.

He fell just one run short in Chittagong last March. But with each opportunity that has passed him by, he has appeared increasingly unfulfilled and in need of an innings that would help to define his post-captaincy career.

Pietersen first and famously announced himself on the Test stage against these same opponents, with the 158 which made the 2005 Oval Test and Ashes safe - and his average rises from almost 50 to almost 60 when he is playing against Australia.

"I wouldn't say it's the Ashes in particular," he said, trying to pinpoint what it is that focuses his mind so successfully on such occasions. …

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