Oxford MCCU 28 for 4 v Surrey 420 for 7 dec. (Pietersen 170, Wilson 119*) by 392 runs

Kevin Pietersen marked his much trumpeted return to cricket in England by turning on the Oxford students like a man on a mission as he scored his first hundred in any form of the game since the Old Trafford Ashes Test in August 2013.

The largest crowd at the Parks for years were there to watch, perhaps even to flesh out dissertations on controversial figures of English sporting history.

He was in blistering form against Oxford MCCU in The Parks, hitting 170 from 149 balls, with 24 fours and two sixes, one of which dented a car parked beside the pavilion, not thought to belong to the CB or a particularly critical adversary in the media.

At least one faraway observer suggested on Twitter that this somehow proved that England would have won the World Cup if they had not dropped him, a conclusion that might not have stood up to critical scrutiny.

A somewhat tougher test will come when he returns to Championship action against Glamorgan in Cardiff a week hence.

Pietersen said: "I'm batting as well as I've ever batted in my career. It's just a case of hopefully continuing that. No-one's guaranteed runs, but if I play the way I played today, in the same manner, then I think that I probably will score some.''

Pietersen has played exclusively Twenty20 cricket in various leagues around the world since being axed by England following the humiliating Ashes whitewash defeat last year.

His last first-class match was in January 2014, when Australia sealed a 5-0 thrashing of England in Sydney, and his most recent appearance for Surrey before Sunday was in the LV= County Championship in June 2013.

He has given up a deal with Indian Premier League side Sunrisers Hyderabad - not his favourite Indian city - in order to come back to Surrey as he bids to add to his 104 Test caps with England. Bookmakers have slashed odds on that from around 25-1 to 2-1.

Pietersen's inclusion in Surrey's line-up attracted several hundred spectators and a number of photographers' long lenses. They did not have to wait for long.

Surrey lost two quick wickets, bringing Pietersen to the middle in the 10th over, 38 minutes into the match. He began in circumspect fashion, reaching 47 not out at lunch before accelerating after the break to three figures.

He was twice dropped - the first a difficult opportunity after he had already reached three figures - before eventually falling, caught by Jack McIver off the bowling of Abidine Sakande.

Reminded of his most recent ton, he said: "Jeez, that long ago. It's always nice to get three figures, but it's the way I started my innings that I'm proud of.

"Once I got in on that wicket, it definitely became a lot easier, but it was really tough at the start. That's what I'm really proud of. My first 40, 50 runs, the way I ground it out, didn't give any chances and I played in a pretty mature fashion in terms of the situation.''

Pietersen was ably supported by Gary Wilson, who finished unbeaten on 119. Surrey put their hosts in for an hour, with the students from Oxford and Oxford Brookes Universities reaching 28 for 4 before bad light stopped play with them 392 runs behind.

Chris Tremlett, another England Test player, took three wickets for three runs. Calls for his recall are so far less vociferous.