England v West Indies, 1st Test, Lord's, 4th day May 20, 2007

Pietersen ton sets up victory chance

  shares

West Indies 437 (Chanderpaul 74, Ramdin 60, Panesar 6-129) and 7 for 0 (Gayle 0*, Ganga 4*) need 394 more runs to beat England 553 for 5 dec and 284 for 8 dec (Pietersen 109, Cook 65)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details



Kevin Pietersen launched England's innings into life with his century © Getty Images
Kevin Pietersen won't have enjoyed missing England's first-innings century-spree, but joined the club on the fourth day at Lord's with a dazzling hundred as West Indies were set a target of 401. He paced his innings perfectly alongside stands of 82 with Alastair Cook and 102 with Paul Collingwood after Monty Panesar's career-best haul secured a 116-run first-innings advantage. West Indies survived two overs at the end and will be keeping an eye on a variable final-day forecast.

England had to wait 90 minutes into the morning session to begin increasing their lead and it wasn't until Pietersen cut loose that they pulled away at a potentially match-winning pace. Corey Collymore kept the top-order on their toes as Pietersen took 76 balls over his first 37 runs. An 18-over period without a boundary was broken when he skipped down the pitch to Collymore and lofted him straight. Collymore's next over went for 18 - Pietersen peppering the cover and midwicket fences - and the fifth-wicket stand with Collingwood came from 16 overs of thrilling strokeplay.

The innings had threatened to stall with Cook struggling to force away Chris Gayle's flat offspin. His fifty had taken 72 balls, but the next 15 runs used up 53 deliveries. With Pietersen wanting to play himself in, the run-rate was heading south. It was almost as though Pietersen was finding life too comfortable and needed to rev himself up. So he picked his target, or they picked each other, and a cracking duel ensued between him and Gayle. It says something about the current state of West Indies when the best confrontation comes against a gentle offspinner, but they provided enthralling viewing nonetheless.

Not wanting to throw his innings away against Gayle, Pietersen milked him and held the big shots for the quicker bowlers. Dwayne Bravo was twice driven through the covers with laser-guided precision before Pietersen pulled his 122nd ball to deep square leg. His celebration was very muted; removing the helmet and raising his bat to all corners.

He probably realised it wasn't the hardest he'd ever had to work for a hundred and began inventing, trying to repeat his reverse-pull off Muttiah Muralitharan last summer, and Gayle beat him with quick, flat delivery. Gayle offered his congratulations to Pietersen and Lord's stood again. It was the first time five England batsmen had scored centuries in a Test.



Monty Panesar's six-wicket haul put him on the Lord's honours board © Getty Images
Until Pietersen broke West Indian spirits they'd fought hard in the field. Collymore squared-up Andrew Strauss, who failed to build on another solid start, and added a fidgety Owais Shah from a glove which looped into the leg side. But as the pressure mounted under the onslaught the fielding cracked, both on the ground and in the air. Pietersen was missed from a thin leg-side edge by Ramdin on 94 - off Gayle - and Collingwood was spilled at fine leg on 29 by Darren Powell. The suffering bowler was Bravo and he deserved the throw-away wickets collected as England swung towards a declaration. There was time for Matt Prior to unleash two massive sixes into the Grandstand, but the final moments of the innings didn't quite match the earlier fireworks.

Strauss could have left West Indies nearer half-an-hour to face, but his caution was understandable. He is missing a bowler, after Matthew Hoggard's injury, and also has to consider Harmison, whose uncertain form continued in one wayward over at the death.

His one banker is Panesar, who added two more hard-earned wickets as West Indies battled hard to cut into England's lead. His five-wicket haul came when Shivnarine Chanderpaul padded up to a delivery which turned out of the footmarks - a good sign for England's final-day aspirations - and thudded into the back pad. Powell, holding an average of 5.75 and career-best 16, mixed tail-ender's luck with some thumping drives. Harmison, after a day to forget on Saturday, improved slightly during two short spells, including his first from Nursery End, but had to settle for Jerome Taylor's wicket.

Fittingly, Panesar wrapped up the innings with a record-equalling fifth lbw against Collymore, becoming the fifth English spinner to earn his place on the Lord's honours board. If England leave with a victory there's every chance he'll have added a second entry by Monday evening.

Andrew McGlashan is a staff writer on Cricinfo