Kevin Pietersen yesterday gave a fitting reply to all his critics who roasted him in the SMS-related controversy a few months ago. While many English fans at the Wankhede Stadium sulked as he dazzled with his stroke play, the Indian fans were mesmerised with ‘reintegrated’ Pietersen on Day Three yesterday.
From the outset, Pietersen maintained his aggression and never allowed the bowlers to dominate his game at any point. Unbeaten on 62 on Day Two, Pietersen started off swiftly. There was no fanfare on reaching his 100, just a simple raise-of-the-bat pointing towards the dressing room and then acknowledging the crowd support.
He looked poised for a double ton, but a rare loose shot and he was gone. Pragyan Ojha’s ball spun away, taking a thin outside edge into skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s gloves.
The entertaining 186-run knock (20x4 and 4x6) finally ended before he received a standing ovation at the Wankhede.
Pietersen ranked his innings fairly high among his best. “It would mean a lot more if we win tomorrow. It was a pretty difficult wicket. You knew that at some stage the ball had your name on it. To have got them (India) on this track was fun,” said Pietersen.
Yesterday’s knock was important especially after twin failures in Ahmedabad where England the opening Test by nine wickets. The England star said his defence was a problem in the first Test.
“I wasn’t playing well at all in Ahmedabad. I did not trust my defence as much as I trusted my defence coming into this Test match. And as a batter, if you don’t trust your defence, you try too many things to force the issue. I did a lot of hard work as I always do and luckily that paid off.
“I like to keep things simple. The preparation leading into that Test match was excellent,” he explained.
Pietersen assured the media that the dressing room atmosphere is in good shape. “The dressing room is absolutely fine. It’s fantastic. We are sticking together really well. We are all helping each other out.
“We are working hard as we always do and we’re also not letting things get on top of us. If anyone is going through a bit of rough time, everybody helps the player out.
“It’s a very united dressing room at the moment. It’ll be even more united if we can pull off a victory tomorrow,” he concluded.