England v West Indies, 2nd Test, Headingley, 1st day May 25, 2007

Vaughan and Pietersen dominate with tons

England 366 for 5 (Pietersen 130*, Prior 13*) v West Indies
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Michael Vaughan become increasingly fluent during his century © Getty Images
They say the best things come to those who wait, and for Michael Vaughan his 16th Test century will be one of the sweetest as he returned to England's Test team after a gap of 18 months. Vaughan's 103 was his first hundred since August 2005 and it was a rare occasion when even a sparkling innings from Kevin Pietersen was overshadowed. Their stand of 163 was the dominant feature of the opening day at Headingley as West Indies were handed another tough day in the field.

Vaughan didn't have to wait long to resume his position at No. 3, entering to an appreciative welcome from a sell-out home crowd in the ninth over and a little under three hours later returning to a standing ovation. The intervening time was the most important of Vaughan's career as he strove to prove he was still worth his place as a batsman.

The early stages of the innings did little to ease concerns as he took 33 balls over his first three runs in a rare period of consistent bowling. However, once Vaughan gauged the gentle nature of surface, and even gentler nature of the attack, he began to work through the repertoire of shots which briefly made him World No. 1 - a position Pietersen will be challenging for if he maintains his current form.

Vaughan's trademark pull made an early appearance, followed by the flowing cover drive as the flexibility of those infamous knees was put to the test. After making it through to lunch unscathed he came out of his shell, for a time dominating the stand with Pietersen. He moved through his second fifty with a string of handsome drives through the off side and neat flicks through the on as West Indies' bowlers struggled to maintain any consistency. Three figures wasn't quite reached in grand manner - a thick edge between first and third slip off his 164th ball - but that won't have mattered a jot to Vaughan and the celebrations were a huge release of emotion and tension. The biggest danger to Vaughan was being injured by Pietersen as he grabbed hold of his captain to join the celebration.

Freed-up with the hundred tucked away Vaughan picked out deep square-leg with a sweet pull, but this was an innings that one medical specialist, at least, didn't think would happen. He'll encounter tougher conditions in the future; the early cloud cover burned off before the start, the pitch was mild in pace and the bowlers failed to land enough balls in the right place, but those were all out of Vaughan's hands.

Kevin Pietersen made his second century of the series off 104 balls © Getty Images
Early honours were split when Andrew Strauss slashed at a wide ball from Daren Powell to continue his lean run and the in-form Alastair Cook was trapped by Chris Gayle off the last ball before lunch. But the middle session showed the poorest side of this West Indian side as the attack lost all discipline, the fielding became woeful and England flayed 131 runs in 27 overs. Even Vaughan, a man with dodgy knees, wasn't pressed when he picked up twos and threes.

Hit before play with the withdrawal of Shivnarine Chanderpaul due to a knee problem, West Indies were given further concerns late in the day when Ramnaresh Sarwan injured his shoulder attempting a stop on the boundary. He left the ground in an ambulance with his arm in a sling, and it is doubtful whether he will play any further part in the match.

It wasn't until clouds drifted across in the final session, encouraging some swing, that the contest was evened up. Corey Collymore held back his pace and concentrated on moving the ball, finding the outside edges of Paul Collingwood then Ian Bell as England suffered their first significant mini-wobble of the series.

Pietersen, though, produced another memorable century - the quickest of his eight, off just 104 balls - after being offered a life on 20. He charged Gayle and was stranded well out of his crease only for Asad Rauf to have called no-ball. As at Lord's, Pietersen took time to play himself in and once he felt settled started to find the boundary with ease. His cover-driving was at its elegant best as he toyed with the sweeper. As Sarwan tried to pack the off side, Pietersen would then work the ball through the vacant gaps off his legs.

Despite being part of the England team for nearly two years, the arrogance and confidence of his batting is still breathtaking. He won't have many better chances of pushing past his bogey 158 which he has reached three times. He was also tested occasionally by the late-day swing, reigning himself in to make sure he remained to carry England's innings forward in the morning. But, regardless of what Pietersen produced, this day belonged to his captain.

Andrew McGlashan is a staff writer on Cricinfo