x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Kevin Pietersen's innings had a 2005 vintage feel

His 20th Test hundred in Colombo was a much-awaited reintroduction of the Pietersen the world fell for in 2005.

Kevin Pietersen scored 151 for England against Sri Lanka.
Kevin Pietersen scored 151 for England against Sri Lanka.

Strange as it may sound for a seasonal scoreline that currently reads 0-4, England's winter has not been as disastrous as many previous winters where they have lost fewer Tests.

Conceivably, they could have won two, maybe three, of the four Tests they have played before this and in only one Test have they been completely outplayed. But what has been an unquestioned disaster is the engine room of their batting; here Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen have looked a mess against spin.

Bell's lesser presence means he can probably resign himself to question marks for some time: "Very good, but spin, eh?". But something in Pietersen's personality has always suggested that he cannot be kept down for long.

His 20th Test hundred in Colombo was a much-awaited reintroduction of the Pietersen the world fell for in 2005. That was a special, unfettered time, untouched by fame, by leadership, by failure, and it was visible in almost every contribution.

Perhaps it helped that Sri Lanka had used up both their referrals by the time he entered. The Decision Review System (DRS), which has induced a kind of paranoia in Pietersen, was out of the equation and so he played without doubt, which is when he plays at his best.

Sure, the attack was a peg down from Pakistan's, but Pietersen's 151 felt like a breakthrough innings.

Two cultured ODI hundreds against Pakistan earlier were signs he was getting back, but this was the Pietersen we have always looked for, hidden inside the Pietersen we have seen over the last few years.

osamiuddin@thenational.ae

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