One of my best effort, says Kevin Pietersen

Friday, July 22, 2011
If you answered ‘yes’ to that question, you’re wrong. Kevin Pietersen was not out on 202 when England declared.

The consensus seems to be that Pietersen probably should have been given out when he tucked the ball down to Rahul Dravid, but we care more about what happened after that. He wasn’t given out and India had another 196 opportunities to dismiss him, but didn’t.

As many of you know, we never really accepted that Kevin Pietersen was in some dire run of form, but he still surprised us a bit with this innings. To go all Tour de France for the third time this week, he drifted along in the slipstream of Bell and Prior, conserving his energy in the mountainous morning and evening sessions. Then, when the England peloton approached the flat of an evening session featuring three fully-knackered frontline bowlers, he burst out and sprinted like Mark bloody Cavendish.

England’s man of the moment Kevin Pietersen termed his double century as one of his best effort in trying conditions.

“It’s (my innings) is something to be proud of. Having gone in to bat on such a wicket and having to face MS Dhoni (in jest) as well for half an hour, it’s right up with all the hundreds I have scored.”

About the course of the match, he expects that ball will seam and swing to put Indians in a spot of bother.

“History tells us that getting result at the Lord’s is quite difficult. But the wicket we have at the moment is aiding seam and swing and we all know swing is alien to Indian batting,” Pietersen stated in a matter-of-fact tone after striking a brilliant 202 and powering his team to a massive total of 474 for 8 declared.

On Sky, they called Matt Prior the catalyst, which may well be true, but it’s worth keeping things in perspective. Kevin Pietersen scored three times as many runs as Prior.

As for England’s declaration, 474 really doesn’t seem like that many runs to us. We’d have been tempted to try and inflict some more wear and tear on the immense Praveen Kumar being as we’re at the start of an overly rapid four-Test series, but maybe we’re going too far with the long range planning with that. After all, the guy who wins the Tour de France will have done so by picking the right times to attack.

Emboldened with his success, Pietersen revealed his ambition to enter the 10,000 Test runs club now that he has completed 6,000 runs.

“I would love to have (10,000 runs). I love to set goal for myself and hopefully I would reach there if I bat this way.”

This is Pietersen’s 18th century in his 75th Test but quite uncharacteristically, he never have had to graft in the manner he has done at Lord’s over the last two days.

“The conditions were very difficult and they bowled very well. Sometimes you were playing and missing by couple of inches. It was a real hard graft. It made you wonder if India were batting yesterday where they must have been.”

Pietersen also gave credit to Cook, Strauss and Trott for consuming a lot of overs.

“Credit to the first three batsmen (deserve credit) for they ate up a lot of balls. Trott was magnificent again and Strauss batted for 80 balls which was great under the circumstances.

“When it’s seaming and swinging you try to get overs in the other bowlers. They did a great job for men like Prior and Swann to take advantage of what’s been created a day before. Bell also batted beautifully.”

Pietersen had two moments of anxiety – one, when he was on 49 and Rahul Dravid appeared to have caught a chance at leg slip before replays ruled it in his favour.

The second moment arrived when he was on 73 and umpire Billy Bowden gave him out caught behind off Dhoni – only for the Decision Review System (DRS) now to come to his aid.

“I was on 49 when Rahul used the technology. He wasn’t sure (so he did it). He is a fantastic servant of the game, a true Indian legend. I have played with him in IPL for 2-3 years and there is no way he would have claimed a catch when he knew it wasn’t out.

“As for the second chance, I had to review it. I can’t get out to Dhoni. Having said so it was difficult to see him through. He was moving it both ways and it was nipping around. He is a talented man.”

Another Indian for whom Pietersen has only admiration and affection is Praveen Kumar.

“I captained him for a year in the IPL. He is fantastic and a very skillful bowler. If there is anyone in the Indian team, I would be happy to have got five wickets, it would be PK. He is a fantastic guy.”

Pietersen revealed that England had decided in advance to give Indians half an hour of batting on Friday evening.

“We wanted to bowl for half an hour at Indians. I kept passing messages to Strauss that if he really wanted to pull us out (declare) now, there are no dramas. My 200 wasn’t important – I had scored quite a few runs already. Team is more important and not a 200 in a Test match.”

Pietersen took a dig at his critics who have been terming his form as none too great in recent times.

“It’s been only six matches that I haven’t scored a century. I got a 85 against Sri Lanka in 100 balls.

“You do go through good patches and bad patches. As long as you are true to yourself and continue to do hard work, you have to be rewarded.”

Pietersen returned to speak about the Indians and Sachin Tendulkar around whom there is a huge expectation to get his 100th international century.

“There are a lot of great cricketers who haven’t done well at Lord’s – Warne, Ponting for example. We would try and make sure Sachin doesn’t get a hundred.”

He also didn’t find fault with Harbhajan Singh’s bowling who went wicketless but conceded over 150 runs in England innings.

“Harbhajan bowled very well. Harbhajan on that wicket which was friendly to seamers, tied it down. On occasions, even I found it very hard to score. I don’t think he bowled badly,” he concluded.

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