England v SA, 2nd Investec Test, Headingley, 3rd day

Thrilling Pietersen ton ignites Test

The Report by David Hopps

August 4, 2012

Comments: 148 | Text size: A | A

England 351 for 5 (Pietersen 149*, Prior 20*) trail South Africa 419 by 68 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details


Kevin Pietersen enjoyed his 21st Test century, England v South Africa, 2nd Investec Test, Headingley, 3rd day, August 4, 2012
Kevin Pietersen was at his unique best at Headingley to haul England back into the match © Getty Images
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It was brash, it was brilliant and it came almost out of the blue. Even by his own extreme standards, Kevin Pietersen's 21st Test century was one of his most remarkable. It took a Test series that had been characterised throughout by South African discipline and English subjugation and it turned it thoroughly, thrillingly, on its head.

As ever with Pietersen's greatest innings, it grew not just from innate talent but a colossal belief in his own ability. Shortly after tea, he became the fastest batsman, in terms of time, to 7000 Test runs - beating South Africa's captain, Graeme Smith, his compatriot and not exactly his biggest fan, by almost a year. He gazed upon his statistic, adorned with his own image, on the big screen as if drawing new energy, new belief, from the magnitude of his achievement.

One point that has not been stressed enough about Pietersen's retirement from England's one-day side after a stand-off with England's management is that feelgood is not just beneficial to him, but essential to all he achieves. When the ego is not fed, the magic departs.

He was comparatively restrained up to tea, making 43 from 83 balls, but in a prolonged final session of 3 hours 10 minutes something clicked. He destroyed the finest attack in Test cricket, surfing on a wave of self-belief. There was still something in the pitch but it became an irrelevance. In that final session, England made 168 runs in 42 overs and Pietersen got 106 of them. Nobody can suggest this Test is not alive after that. South Africa suffered a further blow shortly before the close when captain Graeme Smith had to be helped from the field after injuring his left knee in chasing a ball to the boundary.

Perhaps South Africa should not have tried to bounce Pietersen out immediately after tea. It was a legitimate tactic and, if Hashim Amla had held on at short leg when Pietersen was 52, a push off his hip against Morne Morkel, Smith's gambit would have succeeded. It fell to earth.

Pietersen then imagined himself invincible. It must be the sort of feeling most of us only ever recognise after about three drinks when the music is playing, except in Pietersen's case, the more he sups the better it gets. He flung his front leg to the leg side, to haul a succession of short balls from Morkel riskily above and beyond three boundary catchers, causing South Africa to abandon the ploy prematurely; he stood tall to drill Dale Steyn through point; and he met Jacques Kallis with the whippiest of straight drives.

As the Test series was transformed, he lacerated Vernon Philander through the offside to reach 99 and then, next ball, stole a single to midwicket for his 100, leaving him level with his captain, Andrew Strauss and one behind those at the top of the pile: Colin Cowdrey, Geoff Boycott and Wally Hammond. His high-hurdle celebration was regarded by some South Africans as rather tasteless, and after he had raised his bat to his wife in the crowd, his hug of celebration with the diminutive James Taylor, on debut, was amusingly chaste. How do you hug a man on public view who you barely know and who is more than a foot shorter than you are? Carefully, according to Pietersen.

Taylor played dutifully on his Test debut, a predominantly back-foot player, like most small batsmen, who fell half-an-hour before the close when he chopped on against Morkel for a considered 34, in a stand of 147, that provided a careful counterpoint to the mayhem around him. He must have observed Pietersen, 22 yards away, and imagined a different world.

Smart stats

  • Kevin Pietersen's unbeaten 149 is his third century and second-highest score against South Africa. In ten Tests against South Africa, he has scored 805 runs at an average of 50.31.
  • Pietersen became the eighth England batsman to pass the 7000-run mark. He achieved the feat in his 88th Test. Both Pietersen and Wally Hammond, the quickest England batsman to the 7000-run mark, are the only batsmen on the list with 50-plus averages.
  • Pietersen's century is his 21st in Tests. It brings him level second on the list of England batsmen with the most Test hundreds.
  • Pietersen is one run short of equalling the record of Hammond and Len Hutton for the most 150-plus scores (10) by an England batsman. Pietersen currently has nine such scores including three double-centuries.
  • The 147-run stand between Pietersen and James Taylor is the fourth-highest fifth-wicket stand for England against South Africa and the highest since South Africa's readmission.

On 110, Pietersen lashed Steyn so fiercely back towards him that it was a relief the bowler was not struck. Every onlooker, English or South African alike, would have had their most memorable moment. This might be a bit left field: on 143, he failed to spot a googly from Imran Tahir. No matter, he concluded, I will switch hit the next one. He missed it. He probably never read it. He probably did not even try to. But it spoke volumes about how he believes that attitude can conquer all.

Until Pietersen deemed what had passed before immaterial, the suspicion was growing that South Africa's accession to the No 1 Test ranking by winning this three-Test series was only a matter of time. South Africa looked purposeful; England slightly listless. It was the draining feeling when a side suspected that in the home conditions where it had normally been so dominant, it had finally met its match.

Pietersen's conviction contrasted vividly with the dismissals of Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell as England struggled to break the shackles. Smith's catch at first slip, as Steyn dismissed Trott for 35, came from a cross-batted carve at a length ball and worse was to when Bell, who had announced himself by lofting the legspinner Tahir imperiously for a straight six, chased a curly outswinger from Kallis that swung wide and early.

It was an abysmal shot by Bell, one of the weakest of his 79-Test career, especially considering that his dismissal brought in Taylor, on debut, only five minutes before tea. It did at least allow Taylor to make his first Test runs by the interval, an off drive against a long half-volley from Tahir that would have settled his nerves.

Strauss was the first wicket to fall after lunch, a laborious innings coming to grief when Steyn, who had bowled too wide at him, finally found a tight enough line to force a catch at the wicket. Alastair Cook fell in a rain-affected morning, the sort of Headingley morning when the fancy dressers would have been better coming as frogmen than paying homage, as many did, to the Leeds DJ, TV personality and eccentric, Sir Jimmy Savile, who died last year.

Cook was lbw pushing forward to Philander, the sort of low-trajectory bowler with an ability to swing the ball at a good length who often succeeds at Headingley. He stayed around for an umpiring review, however, which predictably was entirely wasted when the ball was shown to be hitting middle, two thirds of the way up. There might have been a glimmer of hope that the ball was pitching outside leg but it was a wasted review.

Batting relationships, as well as the status of players within a side, can often be revealed by attitudes to reviewing decisions that even in real time seem to have a high probability of being out. Cook is not only one of the most valued wickets in the England side, which gives him a slightly greater claim to a review, he is also Strauss' heir apparent and the relationship between the two men is strong. It all tipped England into a review that Strauss must have agreed to against his better instincts.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by 158notout on (August 6, 2012, 21:22 GMT)

counterstrike said "Australia that is going through re-building phase is way better than full strength Eng team." Haha, thats funny. Didn't look that way last two Ashes series.

Posted by 158notout on (August 6, 2012, 21:19 GMT)

sorry g.narsimha I cannot understand a word of what you are trying to say! Alian? ur? abbut?

The trouble is we are discussing the state of Test cricket NOW and so your references to previous tours are a bit irrelevant. Face it, India and to a lesser extent Australia are not the dominant forces they were. Currently the two teams playing out this series are head and shoulders above all others.

Posted by JG2704 on (August 6, 2012, 13:16 GMT)

@counterstrike1.6 on (August 05 2012, 11:49 AM GMT) I read your post properly and if you're mentioning the India result in ODIs , what about the one off T20 in India , the ODI series in UAE which we won 4-0 and the T20 series in UAE won 2-1? If the ODI result in India is relevant to your post then so are these results which go the other way - or did you not think it through so well?

Posted by   on (August 6, 2012, 10:04 GMT)

One Question, are you enjoying the match?? No bitching wanted or necessary, are you enjoing it??

Posted by Percy_Fender on (August 5, 2012, 12:15 GMT)

This is with reference to the comments of The_bowling_Holding. Contrary to his suggestion in India,Kevin Pietersen is immensely popular. Indians had a glimpse of this man in the Duleep Trophy some years ago and they were convinced that he was born to be great.Then after his debut and brilliant play in South Africa, he was bought by the Royal challengers Bangalore in the IPL three years ago.After two seasons with the RCB he was bought by the Delhi Daredevils.His exploits with them in IPL V have made him a household name in India actually.That apart,his image became even larger than life because he was the Captain of the England team that agreed to come to India after the 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai. Indians have never forgotten that gesture of Kevin when he agreed to bring the team despite many in England who wanted to cancel that visit.Kevin as we know has South African roots and started as a bowler. But now he is a batsman and a great one at that. Let us just enjoy watching him play

Posted by g.narsimha on (August 5, 2012, 12:01 GMT)

158 NOT OUT - BEING WHITE WASHED IN ALIAN CONDITIONS ON DOCTORED PITCHES IN DECADES , IF INDIA is worthless, on the same yard stick what about u r team which was WHITE WASHED IN UAE struggled in SL NOW STRUGLING AGAINST SA if we are pathetic in u r place what abbut u r team in our place won nothing in last three decades where as baring the last pathetic tour we fared far better in ENG than ENG in INDIA winning test odiseries u r wins were specially desinged pitches to assist u r so called great bowlers but when they travel to our place ther are not defferent from our bowl;ers in U R PLACE , now u r team is in total dellemma in facing SA U CANT PREPARE JUICY PITCHES as STRAI MORKEL may eatup btter by the lunch break , agreed we were bad in ENG , AUS only last time but check the stats what was u r performance in decades in our place , how we fared in erlier tours than coment u should not draw conclusions basd on just one bad tour .it is not that only wins in ENG COUNT

Posted by A_Vacant_Slip on (August 5, 2012, 11:57 GMT)

How sad are India fan? Many many comment here are by India fan dismissing England. This - coming from DOUBLE WHITEWASH India team, in disgrace after pitiful Test "performance" V Eng and then Aus. Why do India fan draw attention to themself in this way? Incredible lack of any clue.

Posted by arvind.Kejriwal.AAP_A_Better_INDIA_ on (August 5, 2012, 11:54 GMT)

Lead of 6 runs. Wow ! Nice work by 'All' English batsmen and KP. Come on SA; Good chance to put up target of some 250 runs or so and declare the innings. Eng can't bat in 4th innings.

Posted by Sirchris on (August 5, 2012, 11:53 GMT)

So in the first innings we have South Africa - 419 all out, South Africa B - 338/4 (Strauss, KP, Trott, Prior), and England 87/6... hmmm

Posted by SCC08 on (August 5, 2012, 11:51 GMT)

Anybody not take note of Pietersens interview with Sky afterwards? How he couldnt commit an answer as to where he will be in a years time? I say, retired from Eng internationals, on the T20 circuit and moved back to Durban. What an Englishman..... Fact remains, he's South African as the rest of the squad playing in England..

Posted by jezzastyles on (August 5, 2012, 11:51 GMT)

Geez, the tail certainly didn't wag, but another good knock by Prior, I'd like to see him get a century at Lords. Can't see a result in this one, but it's now up to the Pommy bowlers to stand up & be counted - they need to strike early, and rip through SA's top-order; hey, it's test cricket, so it is not beyond the realm of possibility. @garibaldi - totally agree with your sentiment, but that's just the way of things. @RednWhiteArmy - don't lump all AUS cricket fans into that category, most "neutral" fans love to see an innings of that calibre, regardless of who scores it - as for the next Ashes series, that's a bit under 1-year away, so we'll see what happens then; remember, 12-months is a long time in cricket, for both teams.

Posted by visn on (August 5, 2012, 11:50 GMT)

@mukundh1 Flat track bully? Lol. When Kevin bullies on a flat track he is usually out for a lot less than 100.

Big hundreds were against Aus, SA, India and even a couple against Sri Lanka when Murali was playing. He had only 7 innings in SA (and had to face SA bowlers) so expect a low ratio of 100's there. Also a 144 in Mohali, India. A bulk of runs for every player is at home, so expect the bulk of 100's to be at home.

Decent player, one of the games most awesome when attacking. Ask Warne.

Posted by arvind.Kejriwal.AAP_A_Better_INDIA_ on (August 5, 2012, 11:49 GMT)

@ 158notout Obviously you didn't read my comment carefully. Yes, I mentioned England's white-wash by India in ODI series and gave reason immediately why I did so,despite knowing there's a test series going on. Read it again. Boy, SA is the only team which is more consistent everywhere. England doesn't stand anywhere; No.1 test team got white-washed by Pakistan ? Okay that can be understood your fast bowlers look clueless on Spinning-Flat Tracks and your batsmen can't play spin, so you Lost. But even in your own backyard your Green Pitch Bullies Anderson, Broad and party failed horribly in first match. And even after dropping Swann and including another fast bowler for this match, you couldn't restrict SA. This is something you should really be ashamed of ! Eng No. 1 Test team is Joke. Australia that is going through re-building phase is way better than full strength Eng team. Eng were lucky that Amla got run out, else there's no way your bowlers can get him out.

Posted by SCC08 on (August 5, 2012, 11:45 GMT)

@hhillbumper - LOL, well said mate...

Posted by SoulTaker on (August 5, 2012, 11:44 GMT)

158notout: Ya we accept that at present Ind cant bat on bouncy pitches.....but Eng cant bat in subcontinent pitches either thats the truth u have to accept it.......

Posted by JG2704 on (August 5, 2012, 11:35 GMT)

@SuperSaj on (August 04 2012, 22:39 PM GMT) It's just a report on a days play which England actually did well in. Maybe Cricinfo shouldn't do reports when Eng have a good day so that they can't be accused of hyping?

Posted by JG2704 on (August 5, 2012, 11:35 GMT)

@cool2cool on (August 05 2012, 08:38 AM GMT) Have I said anywhere that we have played well since becoming number 1.?You are basically just repeating what I said but conveniently forgetting that we didn't lose in SL and beat WI which I know is nothing to shout about but facts are facts

Posted by JG2704 on (August 5, 2012, 11:34 GMT)

@counterstrike1.6 on (August 05 2012, 05:45 AM GMT) India was a different format so won't count towards test ranking , otherwise by the same token we'd count the ODI 4-0 win in UAE.

Posted by jezzastyles on (August 5, 2012, 11:25 GMT)

@Zaheer Hussain - boring test format?? I watched a good part of Pietersen's innings at my local til the wee hours of Sunday morning (EST), and it was enthralling and very entertaining - if you find that boring, then you're not a cricket fan. Great stuff. KP certainly answered all of his critics!! @the_blue_android - totally disagree, this pitch has enough in it for the bowlers, apart from the two "P's" batsmen from both sides have pretty much struggled. @Hammond - Taylor did not look out of place, can't fault his temperament or ability to steady the middle-order (early days though), but AUS will bounce back at the next Olympics. @RickEC - totally agree with your sentiment. As for the match, probably looking at a draw, but I hope ENG can kick on & build a lead, I'd like to how SA react to the pressure for a change.

Posted by Munkeymomo on (August 5, 2012, 11:19 GMT)

@the_bowlers_holding: I agree, too often nationalism detracts from just enjoying the game. I really enjoy watching tests not involving England, as well as ones that do. Try and remain slightly impartial, unless Somerset are playing, when I become incredibly biased. Comments like those from RednWhiteArmy are just a bit pathetic.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (August 5, 2012, 11:18 GMT)

All-rounders indeed! I haven't seen Bresnan or Broad do ANYTHING of use with the bat for ages. So disappointing...

Posted by maddy20 on (August 5, 2012, 11:09 GMT)

@A_Vacant_Slip Yes I did say that, but you see technically England have scored only 201/5!"He is playing because he has a British Passport". LOL :D He is playing because he gets more money to play for England than playing for SA .The English are allowing him to play because South African batsmen are better than the English anyday and would readily walk into any team. Can you name an English player who has 10,000 runs in either format of the game(intl cricket only)?

Posted by hhillbumper on (August 5, 2012, 10:57 GMT)

loved Taylors innings.Normally he plays all the shots going so this showed the ability to adapt.He has all the ability and will develop over time if given the time to play his game.

Posted by Meety on (August 5, 2012, 10:55 GMT)

@phoenixsteve - you got your prediction right re: Battle of the P(i)eterso(e)ns!

Posted by Hammond on (August 5, 2012, 10:53 GMT)

You know England are doing well when the primary school arguments about English players birth places come back. Keep em coming kids, they are music to this England fans ears.

Posted by kaidranzer on (August 5, 2012, 10:52 GMT)

@hhillbumper: Hilarious. England has won only a single Test in India since 1985 even though India lack decent bowlers and athletes. What does that tell that about England?

Posted by   on (August 5, 2012, 10:47 GMT)

time has come england has enjoyed win against injured indian side not well prepared and depleting aussie side after that they smashed by lower ranked pak lanka even westindies competed well in eng pitches this is called a no 1 team m sorry they r below ordinary india showed in 2007 in green tracks now sa will clean sweep this series after that bigger humiliation is coming against india where as always england will be dead and burried and fall no no 6 or 7 just above westindies or bangla their true ranking after that green track bu;llies again make green track to come up or cheat like the done with drs in indian series problem with england is they r sour losers

Posted by   on (August 5, 2012, 10:46 GMT)

I wish some of my fellow Saffers (and everyone else) would leave this nonsense out about KP being South African. I think he has proven how passionate he is about being English and playing for England - in the best way possible - with his batting (and occasionally even his bowling). We have Tahir playing for us - he has chosen SA as his country and is supported as a South African. Welcome to the global village - get used to it.

Posted by peter56 on (August 5, 2012, 10:46 GMT)

"He gazed upon his statistic, adorned with a self-portrait, on the big screen as if drawing new energy, new belief, from the MAGNITUDE of his achievement" Quoting David Hopps the achievement: 7000 runs in 7 years and 12 days. to me this 'record' is the biggest joke statistic of them all. it is conveniently ignored that as england play more tests than anybody else: 91 tests played since KPs debut (no other country has even played as many as 80 during this period !) this is a TIME record only available to England players! if further proof were needed Kp was the fastest in terms of time to 6000 runs who beat that record Cook! Kp fastest TIME to 7000 who will beat that Cook. see the pattern developing Its a 'record only available to England players. the only record that is relevant here is THAT 14 OTHER BATSMEN GOT TO 7000 IN FEWER INNINGS than KP and that puts it in its only proper perspective so D. Hopps perhaps should have used the term INSIGNIFICANCE of his achievement not magnitude

Posted by   on (August 5, 2012, 10:40 GMT)

@ counterstrike1.6

I appreciate everyone's opinion on here as much as I hope you all appreciate mine but don't talk daft!!

Posted by   on (August 5, 2012, 10:35 GMT)

A fabulous knock by KP, we needed it!! I note that the article quoted SA as the 'finest attack in Test Cricket' but weren't they saying that about England not long ago....how opinions change, how fickle after one bad game....make your mind up mate!!

Posted by raj_24 on (August 5, 2012, 10:24 GMT)

@mukundh

Check records before posting your rubbish

KP smashed 144 vs India @ Mohali 2008.

also plenty of big 80 + scores in SA and India.

Posted by hhillbumper on (August 5, 2012, 10:08 GMT)

lov e all the indian fans comments.Bit rich coming from a nation of over a billion that they can't produce a decent fast bowler and seemingly an athlete if the olympics is anything to go by

Posted by The_bowlers_Holding on (August 5, 2012, 9:41 GMT)

Pietersen came to England as a useful spinner from the Natal team (words of Shaun Pollock) and developed his batting skill in England. Why can't people just enjoy the cricket? no doubt most of the hoardes of Indian detractors did not even see this game; no one seems to mention Imran Tahir who moved to SA at a very advanced age and does not have a parent from said country (as KP does) as far as I am concerned he has met the criteria play on . When KP started knocking Morkel about I thought he will be out in a minute, but that is what he can sometimes do an enigma wrapped in a mystery. And for all the anti-Englanders check out where our little ole islands are in the medals table.

Posted by 158notout on (August 5, 2012, 9:32 GMT)

counter-strike - how is Englands last ODI series in India relevant to this Test? or did you just pick it because India won that one, ignoring the TEST whitewash handed out to India by england last summer, followed by a second 4-0 whitewash dished out to India by Australia? I am sorry but you just need to accept, India are not good enough and to that end, nor are Australia (see last two ASHES series). Clearly the best two Test teams in the world are England and South Africa. If I were you I would be pretty worried for my own team.

Posted by kaidranzer on (August 5, 2012, 9:31 GMT)

Alright English fans, no need to get too chuffed. This one is going to be a draw/SA win. Amla and AB won't let England run away with this game. And a win at Lords is suspect too. England still don't possess enough firepower to threaten the South African batting lineup. No matter what happens, England will not be No.1 at the end of the series. And they wont be in the top 3 or the top 4, if I may, after the tour of India.

Posted by garibaldi on (August 5, 2012, 9:29 GMT)

All these posts saying "my team is brilliant, your team is rubbish", or words to that effect, belong in the school playground, guys. Why can't we just acknowledge great cricket when we're lucky enough to witness it? SA played an absolute blinder in the first test and gave England a reality check- outstanding playing from them in every department. In this match England are fighting back brilliantly, and KP's innings has been a wonderful sight. Let's be happy about that!

Posted by Hasheem on (August 5, 2012, 9:28 GMT)

Ok folks ,I had told that Draw will come down from its opening price and it did.In this game only England can win or draw will go out after looking to be firm Favourite. My pick is Draw.As for KP"s innings goes it was chancy and came off that day.Africa did not bowl steady and let England to getaway. KP is a OK player and nothing as steady as a Tendulkar or the new kid Kohli.

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (August 5, 2012, 9:28 GMT)

By the way "the army" was fantastic today... loving the songs, the costumes, the drinking, Brilliant! ...England till i die...

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (August 5, 2012, 9:24 GMT)

How annoying was day 3 for all the bitter aussys, desperate to watch England get beat because they sure cant do it....so they stay up late only to get a bucketload of KP...In your faces.

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (August 5, 2012, 9:20 GMT)

Hilarious stuff from supporters of other teams trying to rip into England.... Imagine what England fans could say about your country and their pathetic ranking, haha losers

Posted by Hammond on (August 5, 2012, 9:20 GMT)

@RandyOz- wow mate that (almost) sounded like you were giving KP a compliment. Almost. Enjoying the Olympics?

Posted by teo. on (August 5, 2012, 9:13 GMT)

ANOTHER South African gets a hundred!!!!!!! :P Man that country is good!!!!!! hahahaha

Posted by   on (August 5, 2012, 9:01 GMT)

both petersons doing well in this test match. both played outstandingly well.

Posted by warneneverchuck on (August 5, 2012, 8:58 GMT)

I m looking forward for England getting white washed by India later this year and next year ashes by Australia

Posted by JG2704 on (August 5, 2012, 8:57 GMT)

@Kiran Vabbina on (August 04 2012, 22:58 PM GMT) He still has an ego and is probably near impossible to deal with. Any team is improved with KP (with the right mindset) in it.We've done ok in ODI/T20 since he retired but even then we'd obviously love to have KP back

Posted by   on (August 5, 2012, 8:54 GMT)

Well done to England. KP 'doing his thing' again and Taylor should hold his head high for what he did on debut. This Saffer is a tad concerned at this stage that we could be seeing yet another series turn around. The fourth day will be critical for this test but possibly also for the series. Exciting and nerve racking stuff.

Posted by A_Vacant_Slip on (August 5, 2012, 8:50 GMT)

@maddy20 (August 04 2012, 15:09 PM GMT) You shooting off your mouth again saying "England will struggle to make 300". How good is your math now @muddy20? Then saying why is KP playing England? He play for England BECAUSE HE HAVE BRITISH PASSPORT. I can't understand why indian fan come here with their opinion, people like @Arrow Bowman + @bigwonder. What makes them think they are so important? Why do they think we should take them seriously? please publish

Posted by warneneverchuck on (August 5, 2012, 8:44 GMT)

I think now if ENG hire steyn they can bcome great team

Posted by cool2cool on (August 5, 2012, 8:38 GMT)

@JG2704: Yes, Eng deserves no 1 ranking, see how well they are playing after becomimg no 1. Just lost 0-3 to Pak in UAE, and going to lose to SA.

Posted by rahulcricket007 on (August 5, 2012, 8:38 GMT)

I WAS REALLY LUCKY TO SEE KP INNINGS . SUCH THRILLING INNINGS .REMINDED ME OF SEHWAG 'S 195 AT MELBOURNE 2004 . KP IS THE ONLY X FACTOR ENGLAND HAVE . FORGET ANDERSON , COOK , BELL , TROTT , SWANN . IT IS KP WHO IS THE REAL MAN & PERFORMS WHEN TEAM MOST NEEDED HIM .

Posted by A_Sekar on (August 5, 2012, 8:38 GMT)

Congratulations KP. I have always loved to see his batting. This knock reminded me of the innings of Graham Gooch (i think) the 2nd test at lords against WI, when he made that famous 123. Of course not comparable because that was a far superior attack. But KP's attitude and approach in this innings reminded of that great innings of Graham Gooch. KP still has an unfinished job. He should go on to make a double hundred and hopefully take England to some healthy 150+ lead. and then hope that the Leeds will soon have the cloud cover like it had in 1976 england v australia world cup semi final. All wishful thinking on behalf of England. England does not have a spinner that would matter. So they will surely be hoping for seaming conditions on an otherwise belter of a batting wicket. If these things do not happen, there is no way South Africa can be stopped from becoming the Test No. 1 which of course they deserve to get for the way they played the first test.

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (August 5, 2012, 8:36 GMT)

Good to see Englands fightback is lead by a Saffa. How sad. Start developing some home grown talent why dont you!

Smiths approach to pietersen was wrong. Attacking only brought him out of his shell. We are talking about someone who has the largest ego in world cricket, when you rouse that, you get a response and he rose to the challenge. Lets not forget that Pietersen is striving to make a point about leaving SA for England by doing well for england.

Posted by Shafaet_001 on (August 5, 2012, 8:32 GMT)

One good day and english supporters are thinking they won already!!!

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (August 5, 2012, 8:18 GMT)

hahaha stopped the comments huh? England have a good day and you stop the comments at 49 hahahaha hurting abit?

Posted by rahulcricket007 on (August 5, 2012, 8:10 GMT)

ONLY KP CAN SAVE ENGLAND 'S NO 1 RANKING . LIKE HE DID IN SL JUST FEW MONTHS AGO . ALSO SMITH & ALVIRO PIETERSEN IS INJURED . SO , ENG WILL REALLY LOOK TO KNOCK SA DOWN FOR NEXT 2 DAYS .

Posted by demon_bowler on (August 5, 2012, 8:10 GMT)

South Africa gave us a mediocre spin bowler, it was England that turned Kevin Pietersen into a great batsman (or rather, the challenge of redefining himself in a new environment brought out the greatness in him). Same with Trott, he says he owes everything to Warwickshire.

Posted by   on (August 5, 2012, 7:22 GMT)

I am happy to see England doing well, rather KP batting at his best. But the hype about being the no. 1 etc is unnecessary. The reality is among the top 6 teams, England, South Africa, Australia, India & Pakistan any team can beat any other team depending upon conditions favorable to a particular team. It is not correct to claim any team as the best or No.1 or No.2 in the modern era. England is not a consistent performer to hype about being no.1. Neither S.A. is the world beating combination. They lost test matches in India or to the same team in South Africa. When I say consistent performer, let England match the record of Clive Llyod's west Indian team of the 1980"s or the Aussies of the 1995 - 2000 to be classified as truly the No.1 side. Let them beat India in India to claim their no.1 spot. Even the current S.A. or the recent Australian team could not do this in the recent past. Just having two fast bowlers of class do not qualify any team to be No.1

Posted by   on (August 5, 2012, 7:00 GMT)

You feed to Kevin Pieterson's ego and all goes well. He is a benchmark batsman in the line up of age old traditional test batsmen. He improvised unlike many of his colleagues and got success. The problem with England is that they are too much Test Cricket oriented. In this day and age of new Technology and enhancements they do not kept themselves with pace.

Posted by   on (August 5, 2012, 6:28 GMT)

Woww...wat an innings by KP..my favorite english batsman. Just love d way he bats and allows his natural ability to take over....truly fantastic stuff...smoked steyn wid almost run a ball.......Test cricket is great becoz of batsman like you who dare to challenge the existing rituals and play like greats.....

Posted by popcorn on (August 5, 2012, 6:19 GMT)

Tomorrow's report will read:"And then, like in the first Test,the glow turned to gloom as it all came crashing down".

Posted by kamalotus on (August 5, 2012, 6:16 GMT)

Interesting figures ! . . . Petersen/Pietersen make good hundreds and besides Smith, no one makes a fifty ! . . . and SA concede 41 extras and Eng only 11 . . .

Posted by DataQue on (August 5, 2012, 6:13 GMT)

KP is a legend!!!! He is an icon in all forms of cricket!! I.Bell cannot replace KP; That is a FACT!! I. Bell is good enough as water boy or towel boy...

Posted by   on (August 5, 2012, 6:08 GMT)

Thrilling Pietersen ton ignites Test........

Posted by tests_the_best on (August 5, 2012, 5:56 GMT)

great innings by kp, could be an epic test in the making. hope eng win or draw this test to keep alive interest in the lords one.

Posted by AKS286 on (August 5, 2012, 5:52 GMT)

@ Kiran Vabbina KP is a very good player no doubt but he don't deserve the ODI & T20 place. no matter how big player you are but you are not above to ECB & Cricket.

Posted by mukundh1 on (August 5, 2012, 5:49 GMT)

I like your game KP. Yesterday's was a chanceless innings. But none of your 21 test hundreds have come in India or South Africa. A bulk of your test hundreds have come in England, especially in the featherbed of The Oval and in Adelaide. Yesterday's innings is an aberration. You are otherwise just another flat track bully.

Posted by arvind.Kejriwal.AAP_A_Better_INDIA_ on (August 5, 2012, 5:45 GMT)

Ranking System seems to be a Joke ! Even a team like Pakistan that is going through re-building phase white-washed(3-0) Eng on spinning Tracks in UAE, and last time Eng toured India, they got white-washed(5-0) by India on spinning tracks again, although against India it was ODI series but it shows how poor Eng batsmen are against spin. Only teams like Ireland, Afghanistan and Nepal should play this white-washed team England !

Posted by AKS286 on (August 5, 2012, 5:41 GMT)

still i hope for test that result will come if African Deadly Barrage wrap up quickly then lead is of 50-60 runs. then the second inning of african batting and bowling of eng is the key. missing swann very much tredwell must be the replacement or samit should come in place of taylor. playing a test match without a spinner is really a JOKE. and again i say this that treat bresnan as an all rounder not as a third seamer. Finn is under pressure he knows as swann comes in he has to sit. finn is the future of ENG. this type of pressure is not good in his early career.

Posted by AKS286 on (August 5, 2012, 5:31 GMT)

yes he will ignite in this series to show ECB that i'm not retired.

Posted by arvind.Kejriwal.AAP_A_Better_INDIA_ on (August 5, 2012, 5:31 GMT)

England is an ordinary team. Many congratulations to KP, he is playing gem of an innings, he again showed SA players are good in every dept.. As someone posted below it's SA vs SA, I completely agree with him.

Posted by p2468 on (August 5, 2012, 5:17 GMT)

That was a magnificent knock from Pietersen, one of the best I've watched honestly. And by far the best in this series as well, while all the other guys would just look for that occasional bad ball, Pietersen just took the attack to the bowlers. And, South Africa looked quite clueless. Not to forget Taylor, either. He, too played a great support role to Pietersen and looks good test material to me, much better than say, Bairstow even though I love Bairstow in Odi/T20. Now, this game will have a cracker of a finish,if, the English bowlers perform well cause even if Prior and Pietersen are dismissed cheaply tomorrow, the English lower order should be able to get atleast 50-ish runs and come close to South Africa's 419. And, what can I say? Test series' like this are far more thrilling and nerve wracking than T20's in my personal opinion tbqh.

Posted by Percy_Fender on (August 5, 2012, 5:16 GMT)

Kevin Pietersen is an all time great batsman.We know that and in fact saw that when in one season many years ago he played for the English Lions team that had been invited for the Duleep Trophy of that year. It is not as if he needed this great innings to show the world the world how good he is. But he needed some luck like all greats need to show off their skills.This he gets often. That is also a God given ingredient to the greats.Yet I will not speak too soon about this innings having been the turning point in this series yet. The fourth day should be interesting. But as afs_talyarkhan says, this is the stuff that one can wait endlessly to come. A true Test battle.

Posted by the_blue_android on (August 5, 2012, 5:05 GMT)

The only way England can salvage some pride in this series is by preparing flat wickets wickets like these and get two draws. It's better to prepare flat tracks where Steyn n co cannot do much damage, that way losing 0-1 will look better than losing 0-3!

Posted by the_blue_android on (August 5, 2012, 5:03 GMT)

This pitch looks like its a highway! What a flat wicket! Test matches are supposed to have two innings each, not 2 innings in 5 days!

Posted by kh1902 on (August 5, 2012, 4:51 GMT)

It's so refreshing to see an innings of that calibre, against a fine attack and under pressure - that really is great batsmanship.

To those people making snide comments about his South African heritage, that really is starting to get a bit boring...one look at Jonathon Trott's performances and modes of dismissals should be enough to silence you.

Posted by maddy20 on (August 5, 2012, 4:49 GMT)

@Trickstar Yeah bullied by a South African. The Poms are unlikely to bully or blunt SA. Only South Africans can!

Posted by   on (August 5, 2012, 4:33 GMT)

maddy 20 true it was saf vs saf eng are never no 1 green track bullies there bowling in asia and against sa looks they r ranji bowlers of india or pakistan or lanka or aus ha ha ha give them green mat they will roar like lions but they r not invincible in green turfs india showed them in 2007 unlike india invincible in asia eng in india in odi 17-1 ha ha ha and in test not a single series win since 25 yrs it is pleasing sight in world to see arrogant and cocky englismen loose go on sa crack them 3 nil

Posted by Alexk400 on (August 5, 2012, 4:28 GMT)

Kevin Pieterson is an X factor player. England selectors should respect his wishes and let him play T20. He can win it for England if other pieces are there.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (August 5, 2012, 3:47 GMT)

@ Patchmaster on (August 04 2012, 22:55 PM GMT). You wrote that "it looked awful when Peterson was batting, Morkel was spanked to the boundary...and Steyn just looked really ordinary. So where was the best attack in the world?" Well when I was watching Petersen batting it was Anderson, Broad, Finn and Bresnan, the best attack in the world bowling for the no.1 team in the world, who were bowling to him. I must be like Zaheer Hussain, the guy that you responded to in your post at 22:58 GMT, saying "You clearly know nothing about cricket..." because the first ball of over 114 of SA's innings I could swear I saw Peterson nurdle a run off the bowling of Pietersen. Maybe I'd had too many pints by then?

Posted by   on (August 5, 2012, 3:41 GMT)

@Parchmaster: Wait till the result. Already three days are gone and the first inning is still on and England still behind SA and the English fans are already calling it a victory.

Posted by landl47 on (August 5, 2012, 3:24 GMT)

The game is in an interesting place. England are still 68 behind, but the remaining batsmen can move the scoreboard along. If they were to get out for another 50 or so it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world for England, because it would give their bowlers more time to take wickets. These days, when every side is expert at run chases, making 250 in 70 overs is very doable, even in a test match. A draw still seems the likliest result, especially if the weather intervenes, but at this point any of the four results is possible. A very good day's cricket- let's hope tomorrow is as good.

Posted by QingdaoXI on (August 5, 2012, 3:15 GMT)

Pommies were hating KP and saying that now time has come to drop him and suddenly U-turn. If he would have not score century vs Sri lanka in second test, then pommies would have white washed by Sri lanka too, Still After getting number one status in test it interesting to see the results of pommies LLLLWWWDL (Out of that 2 wins against weak West Indies). So remember what you sow, is that you reap. Still i can say you are good side but only in England. Atleast SA win and fight evrywhere. So your series wins against Pak, Aus, Ind and Sl in your backyard was only fluke. You Pommies dont have the guts. Ha and in ODIs only win in England, outside england vs Aus 6-1 and India 5-0. Still you to play odis in South Africa and Sri Lanka in this decade, South Africa n Sri Lnka will also thrashed u in the same way.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (August 5, 2012, 3:11 GMT)

@ Patchmaster on (August 04 2012, 22:55 PM GMT). Oh dear oh dear! I am rather disappointed that you left out the pro forma ranting about flat track bullies, sub-continent pitches, & how only the ashes really matter. It is always a let down when the token "angry Pom rant" omits these critically important elements of the national whine. Front_foot_lunge - where are you?

Posted by VillageBlacksmith on (August 5, 2012, 3:00 GMT)

@supersaj... It must hurt to be so bitter... I hope you are enjoying GB's Golds as well!!

Posted by raj_24 on (August 5, 2012, 2:50 GMT)

@Patchmaster

Exactly my point. Eng may be still behind.But what a wonderful inn. by KP

Watching that , Steyn looked clueless and was shaking his head in shock .

The best part was Steyn being hit over his head by KP for 4 and 6. the pull shots were superb.

Still despite this brilliant inn. some SA suporters or ENGland haters only see his SA connection

they are not lovers of cricket

Posted by johnathonjosephs on (August 5, 2012, 2:30 GMT)

Still a Draw. This wicket started out green but as time goes on it has gotten flatter and flatter. Its not a subcontinent pitch that deteiorates into a spin heaven but there may be some spin in play on day 5. Sadly that does not put England in Contention since they have no spinner. If the weather can favor the English Bowlers tomorrow (because the pitch won't), I can see a English win, but other than that a Draw is the most likely answer unless the South Africans choke

Posted by jmcilhinney on (August 5, 2012, 2:12 GMT)

I found this line rather interesting: "His high-hurdle celebration was regarded by some South Africans as rather tasteless". I'm not sure whether that is referring to SA players or fans because I didn't notice anything at the time from the players. Regardless, I'm not sure why it should be a problem. I have to say that I'm not a fan of "adore me" celebrations from bowlers a la Flintoff & Afridi but I don't see the problem with a batsman jumping for joy. Given the pressure that England and KP were under at the time, it was a magnificent innings and he had every right to be thrilled by it and proud of it. Given how many bowlers celebrate much of the time when they take a wicket I can't really see an issue with KP, who is obviously an exuberant player, doing what he did after scoring an excellent hundred.

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (August 5, 2012, 2:12 GMT)

Wheres all the England haters at? ooooopps, maybe abit premature writing us off, huh?

Posted by Greatest_Game on (August 5, 2012, 2:01 GMT)

@Rick EC You wrote that "KP is the most naturally gifted cricketer England produced since Botham." Ummm...do you know much about KP?? He was born in SOUTH AFRICA in 1980 & attended Maritzburg College, a school renowned for producing over 230 international sportsmen, (4 @ the London Olympics) including modern era SA cricketers Jonty Rhodes & David Miller. KP's 1st class debut was in SA in 1997. Only in 2000 did he play in Eng for Cannock CC in the Birmingham & District Premier league. After a 3rd season in SA with Kwazulu Natal he was recruited by Nottinghamshire's long time player (Wisden Cricketer of the Year 1981,) Captain (79 to 87,) & Manager/Coach, Clive Rice, who also captained South Africa at cricket. KP's international debut was in 2004, qualifying for ECB selection after 4 years of county cricket. (His mother was British, allowing him citizenship.) 1 season with Cannock CC, and 3 under a Saffer coach at Notts just cannot define KP as a "cricketer that England produced."

Posted by RandyOZ on (August 5, 2012, 1:55 GMT)

The Barmy Army today was embarassing in some of their chants. We've all known it for a long time but they are easily the least-informed fans (cricket-wise) in the world.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (August 5, 2012, 1:54 GMT)

@Mark Francome on (August 04 2012, 22:51 PM GMT), yes, it is rather sad that, after all these years, these people think they're clever like they have come up with something noone has ever thought of before. What's even sadder though is that people like @maddy20 can purport to be a cricket fan and yet make snide remarks without saying a word about what has been a magnificent innings from Pietersen. If you can't appreciate an innings like regardless of your preferred team then you're just not a cricket fan.

Posted by RandyOZ on (August 5, 2012, 1:30 GMT)

I would forget about KP. Yeh he scored another ton but lets be honest he is simply playing for the money. He has absolutely no allegiance to England as many of us have noted before. I know the talent is ultra thin in England at the moment but surely you don't want this mercenary in the team.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (August 5, 2012, 1:27 GMT)

I would like to see the faces of those English fans who wanted this man out of their team in all formats. My friends, he's pretty much the ONLY game changer in your side. Please don't rush into quick, hasty conclusions regarding his loyalty and priorities. Sure he loves the IPL and T20 cricket. What's wrong with that ? Almost every cricketer in the world loves and enjoys T20. Test cricket will be special to those who are proud to represent their countries. KP loves to play for England and today it showed in his emotions after reaching his 100. Well played KP ! India LOVES you !! True cricketer lovers will love you !! Looking good for double, oh yeah :D.

Posted by jango_moh on (August 5, 2012, 1:21 GMT)

great knock by KP, brutal.... might turn out to be a great match....

Posted by Kitschiguy on (August 5, 2012, 1:12 GMT)

'In terms of' is the new 'at the end of the day'.

Posted by RodStark on (August 5, 2012, 0:22 GMT)

What would be really wonderful would be if this match became a mirror image of the first test--England go on to post a massive score and then bowl SA out. Not likely, but I can dream. That would leave the final match at Lords as a true world championship final!

Posted by Pratchett on (August 5, 2012, 0:16 GMT)

@ Patchmaster - And that is exactly why Eng supporters are getting so much stick from other fans. Instead of praising a brilliant knock by Pietersen you attack the SA bowlers. Feels good to dish it out again doesn't it? BTW, it's PIETERSEN, not Peterson. Learn to spell your players' names.

Posted by VillageBlacksmith on (August 4, 2012, 23:21 GMT)

''It was an abysmal shot by Bell, one of the weakest of his 79-Test career, especially considering that his dismissal brought in Taylor, on debut, only five minutes before tea.'' Couldn't agree more... When are people going to realise this guy Jelly Belly is patently not up to the task... Even the new boy easily outshone the weak, meek and ineffectual Bell whose only success is his quest for the lowest strike rate ever.... He has to go...

Posted by   on (August 4, 2012, 22:58 GMT)

Wow one good innings and how quickly opinions change? Some time back, KP was egoistic and England did not need him. Now Flower should eat his ego. funny really

Posted by Patchmaster on (August 4, 2012, 22:58 GMT)

@ Zaheer Hussain. You clearly know nothing about cricket to make a comment like that.

Posted by Patchmaster on (August 4, 2012, 22:55 GMT)

So where are all the knockers of ENG cricket now ? All the SA's ranting about how there bowling attack is the best in the World - well.......it looked awful when Peterson was batting, Morkel was spanked to the boundary like a naughty schoolboy, Kallis looked like a lumbering publican bowling in the Sunday league and Steyn just looked really ordinary. So where was the best attack in the world or the so called 'fastest, meanest bowlers on the planet'. Well......they weren't player today. Sonext time you write on Cric info about just how bad the number 1 ranked side is, remember, that in that side somewhere, will still be a few players that side that can turn a match single handedly. Gotta love cricket....

Posted by   on (August 4, 2012, 22:51 GMT)

Do the people posting about Pietersen's SA connection realise how boring they sound? Harping on about this is irrelevant and simply marks you out as not really being a cricket fan at all. This was, briefly, a story 10 years ago, you guys have got to grow up.

Posted by yorkshirematt on (August 4, 2012, 22:44 GMT)

Hope the weather doesn't spoil what could be a fascinating finish. Would be great for my beloved Headingley to get back on the cricketing map with another one of THE greatest Test matches of all time. A long way to go though and it could still end as a damp squib, maybe literally.

Posted by SuperSaj on (August 4, 2012, 22:39 GMT)

Great game but a me thinks a bit of classic English hyping up before the fall again. One good day in 8 days of test cricket does not make a champion team and Pieterson is very talented but his averages and numbers are simply good in the broader context. The fact that all the stats quoted are cherry picked to put in context against only other English batsmen says it all. Where is he in the broader pantheon next to the Bradmans, Tendulkars, Dravids, Pontings etc....nowwhere and nor will he ever match their class or consistency.

Posted by yorkshirematt on (August 4, 2012, 22:39 GMT)

@afs_talyarkahn Headingley is always the centre of the cricketing world!

Posted by yorkshirematt on (August 4, 2012, 22:36 GMT)

I don't think Kallis deserves the Mitchell Johnson treatment from the Barmy Army, but I have to say their song for him had me in stitches. Sorry Jacques, you may be one of the all time greats and one of my favourite cricketers of all time but no one is safe from the Barmies' taunting!

Posted by Harmony111 on (August 4, 2012, 22:33 GMT)

I am pleased to say that I have so far been proven to be correct. I had said that for Eng to win this Test Trott and Cook must fail else they would consume too much time and KP or Bell should produce one masterly innings. KP did just that and while Eng still trail and theoretically may even be bowled below SA's total but Eng have gained a kind of invisible edge over SA in today's play. I did not see the whole of today's play but saw some parts of KP's knock and I loved the way he played esp vs Steyn. For Eng to feel confident they should take a lead of around 100 and while that may be a bit too far as of now, who knows what will happen if KP and Prior get going. Both of them score runs quickly and tomorrow could even score runs at 4 RPO. If they can do that then Eng would be in a very strong position. Well played KP, I think you played the most attractive innings of 2012 so far (in tests). I am glad I supported you.

Posted by phoenixsteve on (August 4, 2012, 22:20 GMT)

As I had previously hoped England seem to have found some fight! It looks like our Pietersen is better than theirs! Great knock by KP but he and Prior hold the key to an England success. Hopefully England will score another 200 and leave SA with a sesion and 125 runs behind? It's nice to think that we could win this one but we must remember that we could lose it too! SA are already showing signs of weariness and hopefully there's a lot more fielding to come. Smith might be nobbled with his knee injury and we know about Petersen's hammie? It's a long way to go but England look to be slightly on top with SA suffering injuries! Morkel and Stein looked quite ordinary as KP was bashing them all around the park - great to see! Maybe they are not an overhyped bunch of over-rated (number1 ) softies after all? Hope not -praying that this test continues to thrill with England playing the attractive cricket? Well done to JT - didn't look at of place and played a sensible supporting role to KP!

Posted by JG2704 on (August 4, 2012, 22:18 GMT)

@Srinivas Pachari on (August 04 2012, 19:44 PM GMT) So who deserves to be number 1 then? Surely if it's not SA , it's England or Australia?

Posted by dscoll on (August 4, 2012, 22:14 GMT)

The greatest innings of the year by KP against a world class attack , under extreme pressure. Truly magnificent.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (August 4, 2012, 22:10 GMT)

@Zaheer Hussain (post on August 04 2012, 21:55 PM GMT): so why are you here, reading and 'commenting'? Go and watch the Olympics instead...

Posted by maddy20 on (August 4, 2012, 22:08 GMT)

Wait a minute. This was supposed to be an Eng vs SA game right? Then why is a South African playing for England? Coz none of the English cannot get past 50! Regardless its gonna be a draw.

Posted by   on (August 4, 2012, 21:55 GMT)

Boring test format. This is heading towards a draw. Good for statistic.

Posted by JG2704 on (August 4, 2012, 21:55 GMT)

Well played KP and Taylor. At 4 down I was fearing the very worst. There is still a long way to go but as an England fan this is definitely the best day since day 1 of the 1st test. We have to hope that KP and Prior stay there for a while as they will keep up the tempo and push the game forward. Also must say well done to JT even though I still prefer 5/1/5. Bell and Trott's dismissals were a bit lame but I'm sure most Eng fans would take this position from where we were at the end of day 2

Posted by afs_talyarkhan on (August 4, 2012, 21:26 GMT)

great batting great battle - i have never seen anyone in test cricket do to dale steyn what kp did to him today - doesn't matter which country you support headingley is the centre of the cricket world today because that is where a tooth and claw blood red raw struggle for supremacy in world cricket is going on - watch and gasp with admiration and barely suspended disbelief!

Posted by   on (August 4, 2012, 21:00 GMT)

Good import for England, bad export for South Africa. No matter how good they perform in their backyard it will have no consequence to their next test series in India. They will be like silent lambs, now of course in their back yard they are playing like the so-called No.1 in tests. Crush South Africans, Go KP go. Hit a 300+ & feed your ego.

Posted by 200ondebut on (August 4, 2012, 20:43 GMT)

KP is the greatest - showed today what we are all missing in the shorter form of the game. C'mon Flower swallow your pride.

Posted by cool2cool on (August 4, 2012, 20:41 GMT)

KP had to score the runs against SA, these are the guys with whom he grew up and learn the cricket.

Posted by tjsimonsen on (August 4, 2012, 20:34 GMT)

Yesterday I would have written England off. Now I'm not sure. SA technically still have the upper hand. England could be all out by lunch tomorrow, still behind. But they could equally well be 250+ ahead by close, and then it's everybody's game. I don't think I have ever seen Steyn look as clueless (in terms of facial expression) as he did walking back to his mark at one point in the final session after Pietersen had dismissed him like a club bowler. Say what you like about Pietersen, but I have to agree with Boycott's final remark on his game today: "If you can't enjoy that, you can't enjoy cricket!"

Posted by SICHO on (August 4, 2012, 20:34 GMT)

Goodness me! James Taylor looked like a 12 year old boy hugging his father after not seeing him for a year. Nothing is to be taken away from KP, that was a magnificent batting display(though he's still not out). It is innings like these that are to be appreciated, even if it's against my team.

Posted by bigwonder on (August 4, 2012, 20:34 GMT)

So a SA born is the only one fighting against SA, all other England batsmen have retired. SA needs to close up the one problem which is extras.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (August 4, 2012, 20:30 GMT)

Close of play & the honors look even, but even as a Proteas supporter I have to give the edge to Eng. Both teams have one player with a big score, but where Alviro Petersen defended, played with caution, & steadily accumulated off loose deliveries, KP attacked the bowling, & for the 1st time in the series had Eng decisively on top, & SA looking clueless, for an extended session. KP made SA look vulnerable, no doubt offering ENG & their supporters a big boost in morale & possibly momentum going into tomorrow. Eng's other top 6 bats scored only 5 less runs than SA's, but SA's bowlers gave away 30 more in extras. Again, advantage Eng! 1st session tomorrow could be a real cracker. KP & Prior could rapidly put Eng in command, but if they don't last long the game will essentially be even. Great game - this could end up a real nail-biter if KP & Prior can pile them on, although a draw looks more likely. Much as I loved the last result, this is way more satisfying - a real contest at last!

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (August 4, 2012, 20:11 GMT)

Certain innings will forever be in the compilation of the'Greatest Innings.' This offering of KP's is the latest. The murdering of the best attack in such a dismissive manner is worthy of the highest praise, punctuated with many superlatives about style and technique.At times it looked more like stealing candy from a baby, an innings of such staggering audacity that oine had to see it to believe. Steyn and Morkel were treated like preposterous imposters to the world of bowling.I particularly enjoyed watching Steyn almost being drilled back to the fence in person What a player, what an occasion! how can one not love KP?-unless you are on the wrong end of his bat. Always tickles me pink that he was an offspinner in SA. Long live mayhem!! and another morning of it in view, hopefully, with Prior.

Posted by Ra_Thore on (August 4, 2012, 20:09 GMT)

England without KP is like England without soccer fans.

Posted by SnowSnake on (August 4, 2012, 20:08 GMT)

Good job England. Dale Steyn has been generally ineffective in the first innings of both tests. KP is trying to make it interesting in otherwise inconsequential test. SA disappoints me with their batting run rates. Cannot blame them because they have won the first test and are on the right strategy, but this test has gotten boring due to slow SA batting.

Posted by balajeev on (August 4, 2012, 20:02 GMT)

I can't believe it. Both Pietersen and Petersen have hundreds.

Posted by jackthelad on (August 4, 2012, 19:57 GMT)

Taylor needs to be congratulated on his solid support-act to the Pietersen fireworks at the other end; he played with a maturity that argues (early days yet, of course) that England may have solved the perennial n0.6 question, at least for the time being; Bell needs a good thumping for that shot, but let's not carp and criticise. For any England supporter it was a heartening sight to see this 'all-conquering' SA attack cowering in their bunkers as an England batsman took them apart. Maybe (one hardly dares to think) they aren't quite so good as they think they are, against top-class batting prepared to take them on? Certainly, they bowled as well as in their three previous outings; but someone stood up to them, and dismissed them. I'm not a fan of Pietersen as an individual, but as a class batsman able to turn a game in a session he has few equals in contemporary cricket.

Posted by   on (August 4, 2012, 19:54 GMT)

KP is the most naturally gifted cricketer England produced since Botham

Posted by   on (August 4, 2012, 19:44 GMT)

This is exactly why SA are not fit to be number 1 in the world. Complete unprofessional, 1 dimensional tactics. If your bowlers are struggling against better batsmen, then go to 1 day mode. what were you guys thinking? when peterson was hammering every single delivery and you have 3 slips for what? And Tahir should have taken the brunt of the knocks, not Steyn. SA have not learnt anything from all those series where they have lost advantage (cause they still do not have a plan B Having said all this, Hats off to Peterson. You sir, are streets ahead of other England batsmen (Gayle of England). One last bit, MM no matter how large, small the batsman is, you have to MAKE him play if you want to get him out.

Posted by Spelele on (August 4, 2012, 19:38 GMT)

Wow! wow! wow! What an innings from a really classy cricketer! Where are all the naysayers who said that he was 'out of hi depth' after just one match, and were calling for him to be dropped. Quiet frankly; I am not surprised as KP always has at least one classy innings in a series (especially against SA). I couldn't care less about what the match situation is (this is likely to be a draw). All I care about right now is praising this mind-boggling masterclass! Wow! Only if the guy was South African! Oh wait…. :p

Posted by   on (August 4, 2012, 19:35 GMT)

told you so :p

Posted by jmcilhinney on (August 4, 2012, 19:35 GMT)

KP seemed to be batting carefully until he was put down by Amla but I think that that life made him think that pushing and prodding was not his strength and he would be better served attacking. What an attack it was too. The fact that KP can pull off the front foot from well outside off stump is what makes him so dangerous. When he's in the zone there just isn't anywhere safe to bowl to him. As an England fan and also purely from an entertainment perspective, I'm hoping that there's more to follow tomorrow.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (August 4, 2012, 19:16 GMT)

AB deVilliers had another good day behind the stumps. SA don't seem to have lost too much there, although there have been one or two blemishes. I guess the big question is still whether having kept wicket will affect his batting. England will be hoping it makes him easier to knock over in the second innings.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (August 4, 2012, 19:13 GMT)

SA's bowling wasn't bad today but it did lack a bit of discipline. They were gifted a couple of wickets again because England's batting lacked a bit of discipline too. Who will tighten up first? Tahir wasn't overly effective so maybe all the moaning about Swann being left out was unwarranted. Only time will tell but there still looks to be a little in the pitch for the fast men and Monday may be cloudy so if England can get a bit of a lead and then bowl well they are still well in this game.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (August 4, 2012, 19:10 GMT)

That was a fairly impressive debut from James Taylor. He didn't end up with a huge score and it wasn't a pretty shot that got him out but, given the circumstances he found himself in, his performance was just what the doctor ordered. It wouldn't have hurt if he'd scored a bit quicker but with England wobbling when he came in it was good to see him really knuckle down to the task. Against such an impressive bowling attack, he showed great poise and temperament and his stoic resistance at the other end allowed KP to really do some damage. It's early days obviously but I'd expect to see him in the side for the third game even if Bopara is available again. While the conspiracy theorists like to make up all sorts of nonsense, I'd imagine that his "personal reasons" were a death in the family or the like but, if this innings is anything to go by, that may have ended Bopara's last chance. Even if they think he's not quite ready yet, most England watchers can see Taylor playing many years.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (August 4, 2012, 19:01 GMT)

Well done K. Pietersen. Rescued us from the brink me thinks. Game 50:50 now; tomorrow is the key. Good luck England!

Posted by jmcilhinney on (August 4, 2012, 19:01 GMT)

That was a fantastic innings from KP. I doubt that he'll ever be universally considered a great because of the controversies that have surrounded him but if you look at his batting alone he is easily one of the most dangerous batsmen in the world. He's not always the prettiest player to watch but he is pure entertainment when he's on song. He really can swing the momentum of a game very quickly like few players can, which he did in SL and now here. England don't rely on him quite as much as they used to but he's shown here that he is still a very important part of the team and his form slump of a a year or two ago is a thing of the past. If he makes 200 tomorrow then SA could be looking at a significant deficit.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (August 4, 2012, 18:57 GMT)

Before the day's play I said that England would be looking to end the day about 75 short of SA's total with some wickets in hand to allow them to push the run rate for a lead tomorrow and then try to apply some pressure to the SA batsmen. You may henceforth call me "the Oracle" ;-) While Pietersen was the star, just about everyone made a bit of a contribution so the innings is quite similar to SA's in that regard. Sad to see Trott and Bell giving their wickets away through lack of foot movement again but a fairly decent debut from Taylor. If Prior and Pietersen can stick around and knock off the deficit then we might see some fireworks as those two can both score quite quickly and England could be 150 - 200 ahead before tea. They might also be all out in the first hour and still in arrears so I'm not counting my chickens just yet.

Posted by Trickstar on (August 4, 2012, 18:41 GMT)

@maddy20 Hmmm should get shut till the end of the day, always the best policy. What can we say about the SA attack. blunted and bullied, lets hope they get it in the neck like the England boys did. Lets be right about it they've bowled pretty poor and were lucky to get anything, if it wasn't for England giving them a few freebies. SA may have both openers missing or at least unfit, England will fancy this one and the next test at Lords.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (August 4, 2012, 18:11 GMT)

@ Proteas-13thman. You make an important point. As I write - Taylor has just been dismissed - extras at 39 is England's second highest scorer, surpassing Strauss' 37, Trott's 35 & Taylor's 34. SA are giving Eng and extra batsman. I'm a Saffer & avid follower of the Proteas, but recognise that if they want to be a consistently winning team they are going to need a lot more discipline. 16 Leg byes I see as a consequence of ball beating the bat and AB's lack of test keeping experience, but 14 wides & 4 no-balls is just poor attention to basics. This is an attack that has the bowlers to be really great, but to get there they need the discipline England's bowlers showed in the first innings - 0 wides and 0 no-balls. Donald has some work to do!

Posted by shaantanu on (August 4, 2012, 18:04 GMT)

KP:South African born,Steyn,Morkel and Co.: born South African.So the battle is between SAF and SAF.Where does England feature in this battle between bat and ball?

Posted by The_bowlers_Holding on (August 4, 2012, 17:31 GMT)

I hope they do Maddy20 to quieten you and Rahul caps lock

Posted by siddhartha87 on (August 4, 2012, 17:15 GMT)

KP at his best...loving it....the battle between steyn and Kp is mesmerizing!!!

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (August 4, 2012, 16:46 GMT)

Oh Bell, what are you doing? Giving the early limelight to the young debutant like this! Pietersen... looking forward to all the press/articles about him tonight!

Posted by DataQue on (August 4, 2012, 16:07 GMT)

How can you compare I.Bell to K.Pieterson!!! KP is the man in all forms of cricket!!! I.Bell is like a water boy; get the drinks Mate!!!

Posted by maddy20 on (August 4, 2012, 15:09 GMT)

Yesterday, there was talk of England making 600 from some English fans. At 183/4 and a debutant at the crease, it looks like they will struggle to make half of that. Add to that, the fact England are gonna bat last, it looks like they are gonna go from No.1 to ex.No1 in a span of two days!

Posted by Proteas-13thman on (August 4, 2012, 15:06 GMT)

too many extras by the bowling unit~! England basically have an extra batsmen with so many extras . In the previous test it was the same. South Africa need to improve in this area. COME ON Alan Donald ....extras are important

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David HoppsClose
David Hopps David Hopps joined ESPNcricinfo as UK editor early in 2012. For the previous 20 years he was a senior cricket writer for the Guardian and covered England extensively during that time in all Test-playing nations. He also covered four Olympic Games and has written several cricket books, including collections of cricket quotations. He has been an avid amateur cricketer since he was 12, and so knows the pain of repeated failure only too well. The pile of untouched novels he plans to read, but rarely gets around to, is now almost touching the ceiling. He divides his time between the ESPNcricinfo office in Hammersmith and his beloved Yorkshire.
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England v South Africa at Birmingham - Sep 12, 2012
England won by 28 runs
England v South Africa at Manchester - Sep 10, 2012
No result
England v South Africa at Chester-le-Street - Sep 8, 2012
South Africa won by 7 wickets (with 6 balls remaining)
England v South Africa at Nottingham - Sep 5, 2012
South Africa won by 7 wickets (with 93 balls remaining)
England v South Africa at Lord's - Sep 2, 2012
England won by 6 wickets (with 20 balls remaining)
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