Michael Vaughan was delighted with England's performance, as they beat Australia by three wickets at Bristol, and saved special praise for Kevin Pietersen's 91 from 65 balls, which sealed the win. "I thought we were outstanding in the field to restrict them to 250," Vaughan told Sky Sports afterwards. "We didn't chase too well until Kevin Pietersen came in and played an unbelievable knock, almost genius-like, to see us home. It was one of the best innings I've seen in one-day cricket."
But Vaughan was also quick to praise the rest of his team, especially Steve Harmison who took 5 for 33, his best bowling in one-day internationals. "I thought he was outstanding. Those three wickets in that over really changed the game. Australia had a good start, Gilchrist and Hayden were playing well but Steve took those three wickets and really put Australia on the back foot. That was the changing point in the game."
Harmison's fourth wicket came courtesy of a stunning catch at backward point by Paul Collingwood and Vaughan claimed that, too, was the best he had seen. "He's been doing it for quite a while now, taking some of these catches, and today it was the best catch I've ever seen. They change games and that was the turning point in the game.
"It was a good day, the momentum is with us and must continue it. We go to Trent Bridge to win on Tuesday and we look forward to playing the Aussies again on Thursday. This was only one game and we've got a long summer ahead of us."
Pietersen was quick to praise the rest of the England side after his innings guided England home. "I just seem to be timing the innings right at the moment and long may it continue," he said. "The boys played brilliant cricket today, we didn't chase as well as we would have liked to, but from the start with Steve Harmison 5 for 30 against Australia, that was absolutely amazing. Paul Collingwood's catch, Michael Vaughan, all the boys, it was a really good team effort today."
Pietersen said that today's innings has to rank right up their in his short career, but he still rates one of his South African centuries very highly. "It was against the best side in the world but the third hundred I got at Centurion in South Africa, I thought that was a pretty good knock, and to change the fans around to get a standing ovation after all I copped in South Africa was a pretty special moment. But this will definitely go down as one of the best and hopefully it continues."
However, Ricky Ponting was left to reflect on another defeat - Australia's fourth in a row - but said that he could see signs of improvement from his team. "We played a lot better today and we were actually in quite a good position with 10 or 12 overs to go but we fell over at the end.
"But there was some good batting involved in that, Pietersen played exceptionally well. We lost three for nothing but still managed to post a good score so we've got a lot of good things coming out of the game and there was a lot better feeling out in the field.
He praised Michael Clarke and Mike Hussey, who came together with Australia on 63 for 4 and added 105 to rebuild the innings. "They played beautifully in a difficult situation after losing three quick wickets when they went in. They steadied things up with a very mature partnership and got us back into the game, but unfortunately we weren't quite good enough at the end."