Sussex v Surrey, Clydesdale Bank 40, Hove September 4, 2010

Pietersen cracks ton in thrilling tie

Cricinfo staff

Sussex 240 for 8 (Goodwin 81, Dernbach 3-44) tied with Surrey 240 (Pietersen 116, Kirtley 3-61)

Kevin Pietersen's rehabilitation in county cricket seems to be paying off after he made his first hundred in any format for 18 months as Surrey tied a thrilling Clydesdale Bank 40 clash with Sussex Sharks. Pietersen, who is finishing the season by playing four games in a two-week loan spell at Surrey after he was dropped from England's one-day squad, made 116 in front of a crowd of around 5,000 at Hove.

It was Pietersen's first domestic one-day hundred for seven years and he never looked in any trouble even though the Sussex attack contained three players with Test experience. He came in to face the fifth ball of the innings after Surrey skipper Rory Hamilton-Brown had holed out to deep square leg after hitting the first three balls from James Kirtley for four.

Pietersen shared a second-wicket stand of 105 in 17 overs with Jason Roy although it was the youngster who played more aggressively, making a one-day best 60 off 49 balls with seven fours and a six before he was bowled by Monty Panesar. Apart from those two, nobody in the Surrey side scored more than 18 and Pietersen had to watch a succession of wickets fall at the other end, one of which was his responsibility.

In the 20th over he took a very risky single after pushing the ball into the off side and Gary Wilson was left well short of his ground as Joe Gatting ran in from cover and broke the stumps. Stewart Walters was also run out for a duck, although Pietersen could not be blamed on that occasion as he rightly turned down his partner's call for a single and Walters was again beaten by Gatting's sharp reflexes.

Pietersen took 55 balls for his first 50 runs but just 46 for the next 50 and although he played well within himself there were moments when the confidence and class which seemed to have deserted him this summer returned.

He struck eight fours and six sixes, four of them off offspinner Ollie Rayner, and after reaching his hundred with a single in the 37th over he twice cleared the rope in the next over off successive Kirtley deliveries, the first crunched with brutal power through extra cover followed by a straight hit down the ground.

But Kirtley, playing his final game before retiring after 16 years with Sussex, had his revenge when he yorked Pietersen with the next ball, his 116 coming from 105 balls. Kirtley finished with 3 for 61 as Surrey were dismissed for 240.

Matt Prior, like Pietersen surplus to requirements in England's one-day side, played aggressively until he mis-timed a drive and fell for 19 but acting captain Murray Goodwin and Chris Nash kept Sussex in touch.

Nash made 53 off 46 balls, his fifth half-century in the competition this season, and Goodwin 81 from 76 but it was Rayner who levelled the scores when he hit the last ball of the match from Tim Linley down the ground for four as Sussex finished on 240 for 8, with Rayner unbeaten on 35.

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  • Dummy4 on September 7, 2010, 12:09 GMT

    Mark Taylor??? He's the best you can come up with Sammy Kent? I'd say apart from the 334*, Mark Taylor wasn't one of Australia's top six batsmen in his last two/ three seasons. The same is definitely true for Alan Border and, to a certain extent, Steve Waugh. Hopefully Ponting wont continue this fine Australian tradition. KP will probably do well enough come the Ashes

  • Sam on September 6, 2010, 1:23 GMT

    Why is KP out of the English squad? Good players with a proven track record in international cricket should be afforded a slump. Mark Taylor was given some time to regain form and came back very well. It is not as though England don't have the depth to carry KP for a little while. With Strauss, Morgan, Collingwood, Wright and even Cook of late they are not short of batsmen. Even Broad, Yardy and Swann can swing the bat! It must be attitude as much as it is form. I expect we will see KP back in the England squad so long as he stays off his twitter account.

  • sameer on September 5, 2010, 16:25 GMT

    this guy will come back stronger, bigger and better than before. when the ashes come it will be pietersen who will be the best player. this is the first time hes been dropped and hes responded in brilliant fashion, a 38 then a 116. he will be back to re-establsh his position as the best batsman in he world.

  • Mark on September 5, 2010, 8:32 GMT

    Totally agree Sameer. He has got three games against credible opposition and a chance to get some form and confidence back before the winter tour. Much better this to play him in meaningless international matches that even the players aren't particularly interested in against a side that gave up on their tour weeks back. And it is good to see Alistair Cook also making a century rather than messing around in meaningless games.

  • Dummy4 on September 4, 2010, 20:32 GMT

    well done england selection panel, took yourtalisman out the squad at the perfect time.

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