India v England, 2nd Test, Mumbai, 3rd day November 25, 2012

How Pietersen defeated Ojha

Kevin Pietersen scored only 23 from the first 59 balls he faced from Pragyan Ojha, but reeled off 51 from his last 46

Coming into the Mumbai Test, Kevin Pietersen had been dismissed 25 times by left-arm spinners in Tests since the beginning of 2008, at an average of 34.20. Two of those dismissals were at the hands of Pragyan Ojha in the first Test in Ahmedabad. In the two innings of that match, Pietersen had scored 11 runs from 36 balls off Ojha. Thus, coming into this match, Pietersen had plenty to prove, especially on a pitch which was likely to be even more challenging for batting than the strip at Motera.

Not only did Pietersen rise to that challenge, he convincingly won that battle against Ojha. Though he fell to him once again, by the time he was finally dismissed, he had done enough and more to banish the left-arm demons from his head, in the process also swinging the game in England's favour.

Overall, Pietersen scored 74 of his 186 runs off Ojha, and faced 105 deliveries from him. That's a healthy strike rate of 70.48, but a closer look at his innings shows Pietersen didn't start off aggressively against him; he took his time against Ojha, but showed his intent against the other bowlers.

Off his first eight balls from Ojha, Pietersen scored just one run, but he was helped out by Harbhajan Singh at the other end, off whom he picked off 17 from 13 balls during that period, including four fours. That settled him enough to spank Ojha twice through mid-off for fours, so that by the time Ojha completed that spell, Pietersen had scored 19 off 31 balls from him, with his overall score being 42 from 52.

When Ojha returned for his next spell, Pietersen was already on 62 from 79, but even then Ojha was given plenty of respect, as Pietersen played out two maiden overs from him, and scored only four off 28 balls from him. At that stage, he'd scored 23 off 59 balls from Ojha, and 50 off 51 balls from everyone else; clearly, Ojha's left-arm spin was treated with extra care.

Once he got his eye in on the third morning, though, it didn't matter who bowled to him. His last 113 runs came off 123 balls, of which 51 were scored from 46 balls off Ojha, and 62 off 77 off the rest of the bowlers.

Pietersen v the Indian bowlers in his first 110 balls
  Runs Balls 4s/ 6s Dots
v Ojha 23 59 2/ 0 49
v the rest 50 51 8/ 0 28
Pietersen v the Indian bowlers in his last 123 balls
  Runs Balls 4s/ 6s Dots
v Ojha 51 46 5/ 3 26
v the rest 62 77 5/ 1 40

Cook was an excellent partner at the other end. While Pietersen was initially circumspect against Ojha, Cook took up the onus of scoring off him, while Pietersen kept the runs coming off the offspinners, even as Cook was obviously more cautious against them. Overall, Pietersen scored at more than a run a ball off Ashwin, the bowler who was expected to cause England plenty of problems coming into this series. Together, Pietersen and Cook completely blunted India's spin attack.

Pietersen and Cook v the Indian spinners
  Pietersen-Runs/ Balls 4s/ 6s Cook - Runs/ Balls 4s/ 6s
Pragyan Ojha 74/ 105 7/ 3 45/ 66 5/ 1
R Ashwin 52/ 46 4/ 1 48/ 121 5/ 0
Harbhajan Singh 37/ 43 6/ 0 24/ 50 2/ 0

Apart from the Cook-Pietersen partnership, the big difference between the two teams was the performance of the spinners, particularly the lengths they bowled. India's spinners bowled 27 short balls and conceded 62 runs off them, compared to England's 13 runs from eight such balls. England's batsmen also used the cut and the back-foot drive to score plenty of runs, while the sweep shot served them well to nullify the bounce and turn on the track.

How the spinners from both teams conceded runs
  England - Runs/ Balls 4s/ 6s India - Runs/ Balls 4/ 6s
Cut/ back-foot drive 74/ 53 10/ 0 53/ 47 7/ 0
Sweep/ reverse-sweep 59/ 44 7/ 0 14/ 10 3/ 0

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. Follow him on Twitter

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Manesh on November 26, 2012, 14:02 GMT

    @ Front-Foot-Lunge. Then it is pathetic to gift wicket to that average spinner in 2 inngs. isn't it?

  • Dummy4 on November 26, 2012, 11:03 GMT

    i agree Panesar is world class bowler..he was in hibernation all these years..suddenly got selected and picked up wickets...what a fluke!

  • Dummy4 on November 26, 2012, 10:48 GMT

    When things go bad, all the criticism flows unabated.

    Ojha is still pretty good. The question was that of captaincy and coaching. One remembers Kumble in India some years ago against Pakistan. Coming into the series Kumble was a bowler to be feared. In the series the captain or the coach decided that Kumble should bowl defensively. All through the series he bowled on leg stump and was hammered. Pakistan came out with a drawn series, largely thanks to Kumble who pretty much disappeared.

    Dhoni is a great one-day captain. Does he have what it takes to be the test captain. Also what happened to other players. Except for 3 none of the Indian batsmen played much. And this is a batting side that has for years carried some ok bowlers since their batsmen are so good. So may be it was a bad couple of days at office for them and it will be back to the usual. But some gaps need to be plugged

  • KARTHIK on November 26, 2012, 7:45 GMT

    I see KP has used a good strategy against Ojha since he was the only wicket taking bowler for India.@Front-Foot_Lunge , you are right in saying Ojha is an average spinner than Swann and Panesar.But he did try his best.Unfortunately there is no other bowler to support him from the other end. Whereas Swann complemented Panesar well.That's why he was able to build pressure and take wickets.Also I can say it is partially Panesar and partially the wrong shot selection by SRT,Yuvi & Kohli in the first and second innings.

  • Dummy4 on November 26, 2012, 4:19 GMT

    Once you star and score runs aplenty, all is forgiven and forgotten. Who remembers all the war of wrods between KP and the rest. Now he is the hero again. If u have the talent then u can get away with a lot of bad behaviour.

  • j on November 25, 2012, 21:45 GMT

    Great to see Pietersen and Cook absolutely hammer Ohja, who in reality is an average spinner compared to Swann or Panesar.

  • No featured comments at the moment.