Australia v England, 2nd Test, Adelaide, 3rd day December 5, 2010

Pietersen double-ton adds to Australia's pain


England 4 for 551 (Pietersen 213*, Cook 148) lead Australia 245 by 306 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Kevin Pietersen doesn't do things by halves, and having spent the past 18 months without a Test century it was no surprise that he turned his comeback hundred into a double as England inflicted more pain on Australia. By the end of the third day in Adelaide, the equation was simple - Australia's batsmen must survive six sessions, or close to it, to salvage a draw and head to Perth at 0-0.

Not that England had declared yet, but the rain that arrived at tea, by which stage their lead was an ample 306 runs, would no doubt encourage Andrew Strauss to get his bowlers in to action as soon as possible on the fourth day. A shower or two has been forecast for Monday, with some wet weather expected on Tuesday as well, and Australia are the only possible beneficiaries if the rain plays a part.

They had to find assistance from somewhere, after spending the past two days toiling in the field for little reward. Adding to their woes, Simon Katich spent time off the field battling an Achilles tendon injury, which won't help his chances of playing a long innings. And there were hints of reverse swing late in the day, along with sharp spin out of the footmarks when Marcus North sent down a few overs, which will make Graeme Swann a serious threat.

On the second day, Australia were thwarted by Alastair Cook, whose two centuries have defined the opening stages of this Ashes battle, but Pietersen's dramatic return to form could become a key factor for the rest of the series. At stumps, Pietersen was unbeaten on 213, his second double-century threatening to become his highest Test score, although the weather might have put paid to his plans of overhauling his career-best 226. Ian Bell was with him, on 41, after Paul Collingwood (42) chipped in earlier in the day to add to Australia's woes, which began with Cook's magnificent 148.

Without question, the day belonged to Pietersen, who entered this match having not scored a Test century since the tour of the West Indies in March 2009. That in itself was almost impossible for Australian fans to believe, given the vintage touch he displayed in this innings. He was forceful through the off side, driving hard and finding gaps, and thumped through midwicket with disdain.

His so-called weakness against left-arm spin didn't help Xavier Doherty, who struggled for impact and had 0 for 120 from 24 overs, which will increase the chances of Nathan Hauritz returning for the Perth Test. No bowler leaked more runs against Pietersen than Doherty, who was dispatched for nine fours and one monstrous six over the fence at long-off, which is a fine achievement considering the lengthy straight boundaries at Adelaide Oval.

Pietersen's work down the ground against Doherty was outstanding, but the Adelaide spectators who remembered his 158 in the corresponding Test four years ago would have been taken back in time by his walking at the fast bowlers. Doug Bollinger is not a man who often gets charged, but the sight of Pietersen sauntering down the pitch to flick Bollinger through midwicket from outside off was something to behold.

His century, which came with a clip off his hips from his 158th delivery, brought a screeching roar from Pietersen that would have fitted into a horror movie, which was pretty much how the Australians were viewing the Test. His double-hundred came from his 283rd delivery, with a hurried single pushed to mid-off, testing the hamstring that had twinged earlier in his innings.

There was no run-out chance, though, and in truth, Australia created hardly any opportunities throughout the day. There were but two wickets for the home team to celebrate, just as there had been on Saturday. They were pleased to get rid of Cook early in the day, when he feathered a thin inside edge off Ryan Harris to Brad Haddin, who hurled himself to his right to take an athletic catch.

Cook's dismissal left him on 450 runs from his three innings so far this series, more than any Australian batsman managed throughout the entire 2009 Ashes campaign. It was a well-deserved wicket for Harris, who was easily the best of Australia's bowlers, although he didn't have much competition in an attack that struggled for impact.

Shane Watson picked up Collingwood, lbw to a fullish ball that nipped in and struck him in line with off stump, but as the opening batsman, he cannot be expected to carry too much of a bowling load. Those were Australia's only two moments of relief on another difficult day, until the rain set in. And when you cheer for wet weather, you know you're in trouble.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sharky on December 6, 2010, 10:32 GMT

    Like Mukharram Yousuf said: "Well done KP". Great to see an innings like that in an exciting Ashes series. What great season of cricket is upon us. The Brilliant Ashes Series, and Australia finding it hard against England Downunder. Soon it will be India (Number 1) against South Africa (Number 2) playing for top spot. And the cricket spirit has lifted with this destructive innings from Kevin Pietersen. And I love the Cricket Spirit at an Ashes Series. It so full of energy. History stuff to be remembered.

  • John on December 5, 2010, 23:49 GMT

    The ashes is a great battle and has a rich history, and it tends to bring the best out of some like it has from KP, Cook and Strauss. Take nothing away from Cook's batting it's been bradman-esque. Sure the aussies should have held on to their catches and bolwed a better but they didn't bowl that badly either, more often that not you've had englishmen getting out to poor shots than anything else.

    As for those claiming who cares about the ashes.. if it wasn't for the ashes that kept cricket alive, the sub-continent won't be playing any cricket today. The ashes is still one of the best encounters in cricket and one that I look forward to though I neither english or australian.

    As for those bagging the aussies, There has not been better side than the aussie XI with Wanie, Mcgrath, Hayden, Langer, Ponting, Gilly, and co that were invincible. No side from any country have ever matched it and I doubt they ever will.

    The current test rankings means nothing as it changes so often.

  • Giles on December 5, 2010, 23:23 GMT

    The Channel commentary team are so biased it's also makes it impossible to watch the cricket with the sound on. Not one of them has noted just how badly Michael Clark has fielded, even when he plain old missed a regulation stop at mid wicket, they instantly commented that he "had a terrible bounce", when the reply showed he just missed it by a mile......KP and Cook were picked as week points by the Aussies in advance of this series, haven't heard much about that of late ? Maybe they could talk about how ridiculous Peter Siddle looks, huffing and puffing and trying to be Merv Hughes, and as for the new deadly weapon Doherty ? Warne, dust off your boots son, you're on..........

  • Rajaram on December 5, 2010, 23:08 GMT

    Had Xavier Doherty hit the stumps when Trott was on 6, instead of throwing WILDLY, or Hussey caught Trott when he was on 10, it would changed the complexion of the game completely.But neither happened. Xavier Doherty is a useless bowler and a worthless fielder. He must be sacked and Hautitz brought in for Perth.

  • Dummy4 on December 5, 2010, 23:06 GMT

    cricket lovers of the world were sad to see the West Indies in decline but everyone loves to see the Aussies down. I put it down to the arogant, rude and ungracious way ponting has captained the side. Let him b remembered as the man who lost the ashes three times

  • Iain on December 5, 2010, 23:03 GMT

    Has to be a massive day for Strauss, regarding when to have a pop at the Aussies batting. Hope he takes the risks needed to be looked on as a top captain.Go on dont let the ghosts of the Adelaide past impede a fantastic victory ! ..and for that Ricky Popcorn fella..well..

  • Hutty86 on December 5, 2010, 22:50 GMT

    Hahaha I love the bitterness from sri lanakn and indian fans. Don't blame Australia because your teams have been overrated and gutless for20 years!

  • Thank You on December 5, 2010, 22:27 GMT

    Who cares....can someone please take that silly count-down to the 3rd test on the top of the home page - and instead put the count-down to the 1st test between India and SA. Who decided that the viewers of this site need this count-down? This Ash or whatever series is a relic from the past century - can we get with the times and give more coverage to the No.1 side in the universe at this time. Inquiring minds want to know - enough of this one sided snooze-fest between 2 sides from the has-been era. Next....(and I hope cricinfo doesn't start to censor their subscribers' views and not publish these comments).

  • rob on December 5, 2010, 22:07 GMT

    @popcorn continues to live in a fantasy world. It's kinda cute really. The only (silly) point I'd like to make (yet again) is where and when will Australia dig up a bowling attack to dismiss England twice?

  • Dummy4 on December 5, 2010, 22:04 GMT

    England will throttle the Aussies in this Ashes series. The Australians are clearly struggling in all departments of the game. With this game almost certainly lost - rain is their only saviour, they will have to make wholesale changes in the composition of the sides, in the forthcoming Tests.

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