Pietersen Century Drives England Into Handsome Lead
Sri Lanka 275 (M Jayawardene 104) & 4-0 v
England 460 (Pietersen 151, Cook 94)
Second Test, Colombo, day three
| | Day Two
Kevin Pietersen scored a brilliant 151 in 165 balls as England batted their way to a handsome position at the close of day three of the second and final Test against Sri Lanka in Colombo.
Pietersen's innings, along with half-centuries from Andrew Strauss, Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott, carried England to a score of 460 in reply to Sri Lanka's 275 before the home side closed on four without loss in their second innings.
Pietersen struck 16 fours and six sixes in a wonderful innings but he was also at the centre of some controversy when he was warned against playing the switch hit.
Tillakaratne Dilshan repeatedly pulled out of delivering the ball as Pietersen approached his 20th century as the batsman shaped to change his stance and grip. After the warning, Pietersen played a more conventional reverse sweep and then reached his century having not let the incident affect his concentration.
The ruling states that a batsman cannot change his stance until after the bowler is in his delivery stride and the debate over whether Dilshan was in his delivery stride will doubtless rage on but it shouldn't take the emphasis off what was a sublime knock from Pietersen and another fine day for England.
Chasing a victory that will tie the series, they resumed on 154 for one with Cook (94) and Trott (64) the unbeaten batsmen. They proceeded much as they had on day two and after they had added 91 for the second wicket, Cook fell just short of a century when he was caught by Mahela Jayawardene off Dilshan.
Trott navigated his way to a ninth Test half-century before he was also caught by Jayawardene; this time Rangana Herath the bowler.
Pietersen then took centre stage, making run-scoring quickly look easy as he launched into the Sri Lankan bowlers. Only Herath and Dilshan exacted any measure of control and even Dilshan was made to look like an amateur when a series of long hops and rank leg-side deliveries were despatched with glee by Pietersen.
His joy at reaching a landmark first century in Sri Lanka was clear to see and he continued to bat in the carefree, audacious manner that got him to three figures and with England clearly looking to force the pace and get as far ahead as they could in as short a time as possible, he eventually fell when he was trapped in front by Herath, who toiled away to return figures of six for 133 in 53 overs.
Ian Bell was brilliantly caught by Suraj Randiv for 18 off Dhammika Prasad and in the pursuit of quick runs, Matthew Prior (11), Tim Bresnan (5), Graeme Swann (17) and James Anderson (2) also perished.
Samit Patel was the last man to fall when he was caught by Prasad off Randiv having made 29 in 72 balls.
There was time enough in the day for one over to be bowled and Sri Lanka opted to send out Prasad to open with Lahiru Thirimanne and he successfully accomplished his task of seeing out an over from Anderson, four leg byes opening Sri Lanka's account.
© Cricket World 2012