Pietersen, Praveen shine on second day of Lord's Test

Kevin Pietersen (R) and Praveen Kumar have a laugh after England declared their first innings at 474 for eight Getty Images

By Ashish Shukla

London: Jul 22, 2011

Kevin Pietersen roared back into form with an imperious unbeaten 202 as England took control of the first Test against India at the Lord’s.

The 31-year old Pietersen, who has been struggling for runs in recent times notched up his 18th Test century and the third double ton before the hosts declared their first innings at 474 for eight.

India were 17 for no loss in the remaining six overs at stumps, still trailing by 457 runs on an eventful second day.

Pietersen held the England innings together blending caution with aggression as he shared three valuable partnerships with Jonathan Trott (70) Matt Prior (71), Ian Bell (45) who were the other notable contributors.

Praveen Kumar was the pick of the Indian bowlers with a career best figures of five for 106 but the visitors were severely handicapped by the absence of pace spearhead Zaheer Khan who did not take then field due to strained hamstring.

With Harbhajan Singh (0/152) rendered ineffective and Ishant Sharma (0/128) proving to be a big disappointmen, captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni surprised one and all by taking it upon himself to bowl his gentle seam-up stuff.

He bowled eight wicketless overs but was the only batsman who seemed to have caused any sort of trouble for Pietersen as he nearly got him caught behind. Pietersen went for a review and was adjudged not out.

Pietersen’s innings can be dissected into two parts. Till he scored 150, he was cautious as it took him 301 balls.

However he blazed his way from 150 to double hundred in only 25 balls which helped Strauss to have a go at Indian batsmen.

Pietersen was magnificent and provided everything a batsman can aspire for during an innings. He was patient yesterday when Indian seamers were making the ball talk; focused while wickets fell from the other end and explosive when he was left with only tail to provide the final thrust to England’s charge.

If Pietersen’s first hundred took him 299 minutes and 216 balls, inclusive of 10 fours, his second century arrived from 110 further balls in 194 minutes and contained another 11 fours besides a six. He brought the innings to a thrilling close by smashing 4, 6, 2 and 4 off Suresh Raina. He hit 21 boundaries in all and his last.

Pietersen resumed this morning at 22, in the team total of 127 for two, and had powered England to 217 for two by lunch for the loss of his overnight partner Jonathan Trott, leg before to Praveen for 70. He himself was holding the fort on 71 at the break.

By tea, the tall right-hander had moved to 115 in the total of 305 for five?his partners Bell (45) and Morgan (0) falling to Praveen’s guile.

Pietersen reached the three-figure mark with possibly the best of all his boundaries — scorching on-drive.

Having laid the platform, Pietersen exploded in the final session and clobbered 87 further runs while England advanced their score by 169 runs from 28 overs.

This is Pietersen’s fourth century and highest score against India; his fifth and first double century at Lord’s and possibly longest ever stint at crease in a Test match. He also completed his 6000 runs in Test cricket.

Pietersen had a close call on 49 when he clipped Praveen down the legside uppishly and Rahul Dravid, posted specifically for the moment, caught it on half volley.

The third umpire’s intervention was called in which ruled in the favour of batsman, England being 173 for three at that stage.

Credit should go to Praveen as he manfully shouldered the burden of Indian attack without any support from other bowlers.

He ran in briskly in the final session and was almost mesmerizing with the second new ball once it was taken after 87 overs. His figures for today were 23-5-60-5 which spoke volumes about the effort he put in.

While Trott was done in by a delivery that darted in after pitching, Ian Bell fished at a late outswinger while southpaw Eoin Morgan got a delivery that came in sharply.

Even during a 120-run partnership between Pietersen and Prior, PK as he is affectionately called by his mates moving it either ways with his perfect wrist position.

He was on a hat-trick when he dismissed Prior and Stuart Broad off successive deliveries but Graem Swann (24) who played a little cameo averted the danger. Then it was Pietersen who got onto his own to complete a memorable double hundred.

Brief Scores: England 474 for 8 dec (Kevin Pietersen 202*, Matt Prior 71, Jonathan Trott 69; Praveen Kumar 5 for 106, Zaheer Khan 2 for 18) lead India 17 for no loss (Abhinav Mukund 8*, Gautam Gambhir 7*) by 457 runs.

Full Scorecard

PTI