Pietersen And Bell Hammer India
England 457-3 (Bell 181no, Pietersen 175) v India
Fourth Test, The Kia Oval, day two
Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell compiled a ground-record 350-run partnership for the third wicket as England bossed the second day of the fourth and final Test against India at the Kia Oval.
After losing openers Alastair Cook and Andrew Strauss for 34 and 40 respectively before Pietersen and Bell made hay in the sunshine and took full advantage of a beleaguered Indian bowling unit, England closing on 457 for three.
Pietersen entertained before being caught and bowled by Suresh Raina for 175 while Ian Bell was homing in on a new career-best as he finished the day unbeaten on 181 having faced 304 balls.
India, who were poor on the truncated opening day which saw England close on 75 without loss, struck early to remove Cook and Strauss as they put in one of their best sessions of the tour before lunch.
Ishant Sharma had Cook caught from the fifth ball of the day as he pushed outside off stump and was caught by Virender Sehwag at slip before Strauss drove at Shanthakumaran Sreesanth and edged to Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
After that, it was the Pietersen-Bell show as they ripped the bowling to shreds, Pietersen dominating and Bell exuding class and grace with some shots of jaw-dropping beauty through the off side.
Pietersen handled the spinners brutally, picking out gaps on the midwicket and straight boundaries at will and he also smashed Amit Mishra for a switch-hit that raced to the boundary.
He enjoyed the better of a running battle with Sreesanth and hit 27 fours before he was caught and bowled by Raina after he failed to check his shot enough as he advanced down the track.
That came after they had passed the previous ground record in a Test match held by Marcus Trescothick and Graham Thorpe against South Africa in 2003.
Bell hit 17 fours and two sixes, both hitting the same spot down the ground - almost as if he was in such control of his game, the bowling and the situation that he did it on purpose.
No less purposeful was nightwatchman James Anderson, who was unbeaten on three having done his job in facing 18 balls.
England lead the four-match series 3-0 and will finish the series as the number one side in the ICC Test rankings.
© Cricket World 2011