Kevin Pietersen’s return to England colours amounted to mere “business as usual” for his team-mates on a day when Steven Finn’s thigh injury proved a much graver concern.
Pietersen took the field for his country for the first time since being dropped for the final Test at Lord’s more than two months ago. The South Africa-born batsman’s route back has been a tortuous one, involving face-to-face talks with management and senior players and a public show of contrition for his controversial behaviour. But, if there was any lingering resentment following the breakdown in relations over contract wrangles, “provocative” text messages to the South Africa team and a spoof Twitter account, it was not in evidence as England and Pietersen reacquainted themselves at the start of what is sure to prove a tough Test series against India.
Yesterday, India A finished on 369 for nine at the Brabourne Stadium with No 6 Manoj Tiwary top-scoring with 93 after Yuvraj Singh and Abhinav Mukund had both hit half-centuries. There were three hard-earned wickets each for seamer Tim Bresnan and off-spinner Graeme Swann and, afterwards, Bresnan said: “It’s pretty much business as usual.
“I’m pretty sure most of the lads in the dressing room were expecting it to be like that and that’s what it was like. For the lads, it’s nothing different to having [any] player come back into the squad who’s been missing for a while.”
Pietersen’s return has been achieved only after a series of meetings with new Test captain Alastair Cook and other players. “Everyone in the know has sat down and spoken about it,” added Bresnan. “But, apart from that, for the rest of the boys, I guess it’s just like having someone who’s been injured coming back into the side.”
Bresnan had to bowl 20 overs, once Finn managed just four before limping off and leaving England with only two frontline seamers.
“Obviously, we’re disappointed one of our fast bowlers had to go off,” said the Yorkshireman.
“But it’s one of those things where you just have to step up a bit, and each of you has to take on his responsibility.”
An update on Finn’s fitness is anticipated today and Bresnan added: “All we know is it’s hurting, and scans will reveal more.”