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

KP's drought ends with a flood of runs

Cathartic single
There was a sense of inevitability about Kevin Pietersen's century. Twenty-one months may have elapsed since he last reached the milestone at Trinidad in March 2009, but from the moment he resumed on 85 not out overnight, there was not a spectator in the whole of Adelaide who believed he'd throw it away. Sure enough, in the fifth over of the day, he patted Ryan Harris into the leg-side, and completed his milestone with an ecstatic leap to the non-striker's end. From there he settled into a more restrained jog, as he peeled off his helmet and waved to all corners with a broad grin tinged with more than a hint of relief. He was back, but after waiting this long, he was far from finished.

The Ego has relanded
One-hundred-and-twenty balls later, however, Pietersen's reaction was joy unconfined. Having gone to tea on a familiar score of 158 - the total for which he had been dismissed three times in Tests already, including here in 2006-07 and at The Oval in 2005 - he eased past that bogey-number and sprinted for the hills. Xavier Doherty was powerless to intervene, and it was his delivery that was pushed wide of cover for Pietersen to charge through to his second Test double-century. This time there was no restraint. He ran a full 20 metres past the stumps at the non-striker's end, dropped to his knee in a body-builder's fist-pump, and lapped up the acclaim like a man who once again believed he was his destiny to dominate all opponents.

Over of the day
Ryan Harris has been Australia's best bowler of the game, which isn't saying a huge amount. But he delivered a fierce over to Pietersen and Cook in the opening session when Australia were desperate for a wicket. After forcing Pietersen to hop away from a searing bouncer, Harris followed up with another spot-on short ball, which the batsman pulled short of the man at deep square leg. That left Cook on strike and later in the over he inside-edged to Brad Haddin, who leapt for a fine one-handed take.

He's out
If Australia's afternoon papers had not died a death in the 1970s, those three words splashed across the city's newsstands would have sufficed to describe the sense of disbelief that greeted the end of Cook's vigil, just as they were once used to tell of Don Bradman's dismissals. He was into his 19th straight hour of batting since the third day at Brisbane and his 24th in all for the series, when he finally made his misjudgement, with exactly 450 runs to his series tally. The crowd rose in unison to acclaim a monumental feat of endurance, but with Pietersen into his stride, Australia did not believe that their suffering was over.

Pulling power
Shortly after Pietersen brought up his century, the Australians tried bouncing him through Peter Siddle. Three men were set back on the fence - at fine leg, behind square, and in front of square - and Siddle aimed short. Pietersen was in such good touch that the threats didn't concern him. He hooked one so well that Xavier Doherty didn't see it at backward square, and he unleased a similar shot from the next ball. Doherty saw this one, but it didn't matter. It raced over the rope and Pietersen powered to 120.

Watson's wicket
Referrals have been a feature of this game, along with lots of England runs and wickets, but there was no complaint from anyone when Paul Collingwood was lbw to Shane Watson. Somehow, Watson managed to get a ball to cut back on the flat surface, and it struck Collingwood right in front. In a period where batsmen are keen to make an instant t-sign for a review, Collingwood made a beeline for the dressing room.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo and Peter English is Australasian editor

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  • Dummy4 on December 6, 2010, 6:00 GMT

    kiddooos KP..:) he is such a wonderful player to watch,.. missed his brilliance for so long.... and it is a astonishing inning just at right time... show the aussies that they deserve to be 5th in ranking.. as most of them didnt beleive in ranking system as they droped to their lowest ever place... want to enjoy KP batting in WC too... worth watching..:)

  • Anver on December 6, 2010, 4:39 GMT

    KP's double ton put ENG in a commanding position, if weather permits i'm sure ENG will win this match easily.......Aussies to save the match need a another big fighting inning from their inform HUSSEY !!!!!!!

  • Dummy4 on December 5, 2010, 23:44 GMT

    the Aussie Nightmare!!.................................

  • Ahnaf on December 5, 2010, 22:21 GMT

    I've never seen Australia that helpless...Even in Indian pitches their bowlers bowled well.....I think they just need to believe in themselves...North should be dropped(saying that,he might make a century in the 2nd innings :P) and should be replaced by white...And I personally think tait could make a difference...but then again,he doesn't play test cricket...neither does B.lee...So,they need to march forward with this team..

  • Suresh on December 5, 2010, 16:25 GMT

    looks like Ausies are again going to escape a loss, everytime they are in a losing position the rain gods help them out....remember Chennai few yrs ago...they were on the brink of sure defeat...and sudden showers(unusual for that part of year in Chennai) for half day turned Ausies perfect defeat to a draw....and now...Adelaid weather forcast for the next 2 days are not that great....T.Showers / weather channel

  • Lalith on December 5, 2010, 12:26 GMT

    I think he is on fire. His shots are fantastic to watch. If he is in fire, watch the world cup. Poms have a good chance to win WC.

  • Dummy4 on December 5, 2010, 9:16 GMT

    I was damm sure that KP will come back with the superb innings I can't expect better than this.KP you rocking dude I was 100% sure you will do it.Ashes is on full tone we can see the England's best team playing the test series and look at the crowd last time there were some 35000 people watching this match....Real spirit for cricket ...Guys carry on playing food cricket.... I never miss any ashes match

  • Supern on December 5, 2010, 9:15 GMT

    This test match will bring down an end to aussies era of dominance in world cricket.

  • Chetan on December 5, 2010, 8:07 GMT

    Australia is in pressure though the start of the series and the inning and form of Pietersen put Australia in more trouble than they are. Anyhow Pietersen had silenced everyone with his great inning. Thanks to Andrew Strauss who made his believe in him.

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