Double century for Kevin Pietersen puts England in command

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 npower Test against India at Lord's.

Having last reached three figures in this country in August 2008, Pietersen chose the occasion of the 2000th 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 for eight, he was at his swaggering best. In all, he batted for over eight hours, hitting 21 fours and a six and passing 6,000 Test runs in the process.

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India, meanwhile, survived a tricky five overs at the close to reach 17 without loss, having toiled for large periods of the day without their stricken spearhead Zaheer Khan, absent with a hamstring strain.

There was some joy for swing bowler Praveen Kumar who 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 for two, 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 the first day. He got going with two punchy fours through mid-on and was soon collecting regular singles.

Trott looked typically solid and it was a surprise to see Praveen beat the bat and trap him lbw on the back foot for 70. India installed a leg slip for Praveen and it looked like a master stroke when Pietersen, one short of his half-century, turned one round his pad to the waiting Rahul Dravid.

Having dropped Trott on eight yesterday, the 38-year-old got down well this time but could not be certain of the catch and the umpires sent the decision upstairs. Replays gave the batsman the benefit of the doubt and Pietersen survived. His 50 followed off 134 deliveries, the longest Pietersen has ever taken to reach that mark.

At lunch England were 217 for three but India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni hatched a new plan during the interval, handing Dravid the wicketkeeping gloves and awarding himself the first over after the break.

Despite bowling only three Test overs before, he started well and thought he had Pietersen caught behind by Dravid with his ninth ball. Umpire Billy Bowden heard a noise but Pietersen swiftly opted to review it, with TV umpire Marais Erasmus determining that bat clipped pad rather than ball. An elegant on-drive off Sharma brought his tenth four and his 18th Test hundred.

Moments after Pietersen's energetic celebrations had subsided, Praveen struck gold twice in four balls. First Ian Bell was caught well by Dhoni for 45 then Eoin Morgan followed for a duck to the same combination.Matt Prior quickly settled and struck a brisk 71 before giving the tireless Praveen a fourth success, his fifth arriving the very next ball when he snared Stuart Broad with an inswinger.

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Graeme Swann survived the hat-trick ball, and Pietersen took control, clubbing successive fours off Praveen and then drilling Sharma for three powerful boundaries in a dominant over.

Swann was undone by Suresh Raina for 24, but Pietersen then thrashed him for a sequence of four, six, two, four to bring up his 200 and the declaration.

Chris Tremlett had one decent shout for lbw against Abhinav Mukund before the close but the Indian openers held firm.