South Africa in England 2008 August 9, 2008

An inevitable KP century


The England papers are hardly surprised that Kevin Pietersen made a century in his first innings after being appointed captain and are relieved that leadership doesn't seem to have affected his belligerent approach to batting. Lawrence Booth writes in the Guardian:

He scored three centuries in his first major one-day series against the South Africans in 2005. He made another one against Australia here three summers ago with the Ashes at stake. And he scored one more in his first Test against his former compatriots at Lord's last month. Death and taxes are less inevitable than his century was here.

The Telegraph's Martin Johnson is almost as impressed by Pietersen rendering the snarling Andre Nel speechless as he is by the new captain's hundred.

In the Independent, Stephen Brenkley wonders whether the intensity is lacking in the South African outfit as they have already clinched the series.

And Christopher Martin-Jenkins, in the Times, stresses the need for England to unearth a second match-winning batsman.

Jacques Kallis may be having a lean run with the bat but he has contributed with some important wickets. Simon Briggs writes in the Telegraph that Kallis has become the leading exponent of reverse-swing in either side.

"After a run of low scores, Andrew Strauss saved his skin with a meaty century in the second innings of the final Test in Napier, and Ian Bell, whose place was also then far from secure, did the same. It was Paul Collingwood's turn in the last Test to rescue his career with a doughty century. Sometime over the weekend Tim Ambrose will hope to imbibe from the same restorative fluid with which the others have found salvation," writes Simon Hughes in the Telegraph.

I am afraid that Ambrose simply does not have a presence at the crease and can only score runs from short balls. Anything pitched up is now dangerous because he simply won't get onto the front foot which means that he is particularly susceptible to being caught behind the wicket, writes Jonathan Agnew on BBC Sport.