KEVIN Pietersen reflected on a “satisfying” century but said his 22nd Test hundred would mean a lot more if, as expected, it is part of a famous victory over India.
Pietersen displayed an uncanny mastery of conditions and of world-class opponents to follow his captain Alastair Cook in equalling the all-time England record for Test tons, 22. Their double-century partnership put the tourists on course for a total of 413 all out, allowing Monty Panesar (five for 61) and Graeme Swann the leeway to exploit spinners’ conditions at the Wankhede Stadium. India closed on 117 for seven, just 31 runs in front, and surely on course to lose in the early hours of this morning in a series which will then stand 1-1 with two to play.
There was understatement in much of what England’s returning hero Pietersen said afterwards, which contrasted with his supreme batsmanship. “It was a pretty difficult wicket,” he said. “You knew that, at some stage, a ball had your name on it so to have got some [runs] on that was satisfying.It will mean a lot more if we win tomorrow.”
“Getting hundreds for England, and especially Cookie going to 22 and then saying to me ‘you haven’t got far to go, then you’re there as well’. It was a special moment.”
The wonder of day three in the second Test was that Pietersen (186) and Cook (122) made India’s three-strong spin attack labour longer for success.
Pietersen, in particular, was largely untroubled by sharp turn and bounce and made a nonsense of a weakness many have perceived against left-arm spin by taking heaviest toll on India’s most dangerous bowler Pragyan Ojha (five for 143).
England, nine-wicket losers in the first Test, can again consider the possibility of a series win.