Pietersen must bat at No. 4

The English batsmen have come up trumps but their bowling could lack the wherewithal (03:25)

December 1, 2006

Transcript

2nd Test, Adelaide, 1st day

Pietersen must bat at No. 4

December 1, 2006



The Warne-Pietersen contest lighted up the day's play © Getty Images
Well, it started out as an attritional day of Test cricket. England won the toss, which I think they had to. I think Australia was the one team that could, perhaps, afford to lose the toss. But England won the toss, which was a very good start for them.

The pitch was drier than normal in Adelaide and Ricky Ponting showed pretty early on what he thought of it, by having a lot of men catching in front of the wicket, rather than behind. England got away to a good start. However, it must be a little worrying to them that they though have done that three times now - both openers - Andrew Strauss and Alistair Cook, have got out when well-set.

It looked like trouble for England at 45 for 2, but then Ian Bell and Paul Collingwood, who seem to have an affinity for the [Adelaide] Oval - they had a very good partnership here against South Australia in the tour match - and they did it again today. It was hard work; there were times when Bell looked like he was at nets than in a Test match. He does stagnate at times which is a habit he has got to get out of if he wants to be a forceful No. 3. But despite this, he still played well.

Collingwood is a very impressive cricketer and I thought he played really well. He's smart, finds ways to keep the scoreboard ticking over the whole time. Their partnership brought England right back into the game and in fact they seemed to have the Australians really on the back-foot and struggling [before] Bell mistimed a short one from Brett Lee. Then came Kevin Pietersen and I think he must bat at No. 4 for England. I think it would be ideal with him between Bell and Collingwood. He came in at No. 4 and took the game by the scruff of the neck. You could feel the crowd rise as Pietersen came to the crease and as soon as Shane Warne came into the attack you could tell that a lot of people were here to see the Warne-Pietersen contest. And a very good contest it was.

Pietersen is a very aggressive player, he likes to take the game to the opposition, but I think he's more in control of himself than he was in 2005. Every now and again he might make a mistake but he doesn't follow it up with a mistake. He then goes back and starts to play controlled cricket. He's a terrific player and a tremendous player for England. He took the game by the throat and put England in a position which they'll be pretty happy with tonight.

[With] 266 for 3 at stumps means that it was a good day for England. They are in control of the match but I can't believe they have gone in with the same team as they had in Brisbane. I said that they couldn't win the match with this attack and I don't think they will. But they are in a good position now; the batsmen have given them a chance to win the match, I just don't think their bowlers will be good enough to.


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