Cricket: England begin day two of the final Test against India in the early hours of tomorrow morning buoyed by Kevin Pietersen’s fighting display today.
Pietersen helped the tourists recover from the loss of two early wickets on day one in Nagpur, before grinding out 199 for five.
Alastair Cook’s tourists, needing a draw in Nagpur to close out a historic series victory, lost both openers — their captain and Nick Compton — to India’s lone pace bowler Ishant Sharma inside the first hour.
But Pietersen (73) and Jonathan Trott then shared a hard-working stand of 86 in 39 overs after England had chosen to bat first.
And the former revealed that he rated his 73 hard-earned runs as some of the most difficult he has ever made for England. Pietersen said: “It’s the toughest wicket I’ve played Test cricket on, in terms of trying to play strokes.
“I think we’ve gone OK at 200 for five. But what the wicket’s going to do, I haven’t got a clue — because it looks pretty similar now to what it did when we started the day.”
He also sympathised with spectators who could have taken little pleasure from watching batsmen chisel out their runs on a pitch hardly devised for entertainment value.
It was anything but pretty, but may yet turn out to be as well as England could have done.
“When you’re the tourists, obviously the Indians think that’s the kind of wicket they can produce to pull the series back,” he said.
“We’ve had some incredible challenges over the last two or three years.
“The viewers might have switched off four or five hours ago ... but it’s an incredible challenge for the lads over the next four days to see what we can get out of this.”