Pietersen strikes unbeaten double hundred at Lord’s

LONDON, (Reuters) – Kevin Pietersen struck the India  bowlers to all parts of Lord’s today during a majestic  unbeaten innings of 202 on a sun-dappled second day of the first  test.
Pietersen unfurled a series of glorious drives at the  spiritual home of world cricket before an appreciative capacity  crowd attending the 2,000th test match and the 100th between the  two countries.
He smacked 21 boundaries and a six in more than eight hours  at the crease to complete his third test double century and take  England to 474 for eight declared.
India survived the final half hour to reach 17 for no wicket  at the close and set the stage for Saturday’s showpiece day and  Sachin Tendulkar, who needs one more century to become the first  man to complete 100 international hundreds.
“The wicket is still offering plenty for seamers,” Pietersen  told a news conference. “It would be interesting if India had  batted yesterday. To be put in and get 474, we in a pretty good  position.”
India, reduced to three specialist bowlers in the absence of  Zaheer Khan who was off the field all day due to a hamstring  strain, had their own hero in the lion-hearted Praveen Kumar who  took five for 106 from 40.3 overs.
Moving the ball disconcertingly through the air at times at  no more than medium pace with a low-slung action from an  economical run-up, Kumar deservedly won a place on the Lord’s  honours board in only his fourth test.
His performance was all the more creditable as conditions  were in favour of the batsmen with the sun shining, the pitch  full of runs and little in the way of support.
Kumar said he had not been daunted by the number of overs he  had been asked to bowl.
“I have been bowling 32 to 35 overs in domestic cricket,” he  said. “After the fourth wicket I was very confident that I would  get the fifth. The wicket still had something to offer.”

BOWLER DHONI
To underline India’s problems, captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni  twice handed the wicketkeeper’s pads and gloves to Rahul Dravid  in order to bowl his medium pace in two spells of five and three  overs respectively.
After batting with stern self-denial in demanding conditions  on Thursday’s rain-shortened day, Pietersen flourished on a  sunny morning with two glorious on-driven fours in the opening  overs.
He survived the loss of Jonathan Trott, lbw to Kumar for 70,  and a confident appeal from the Indians when Dravid dived  forward from leg-gully to gather the ball off the same bowler  when he was one short of a third consecutive test half-century.
Pietersen was reprieved when television replays failed to  prove conclusively that Dravid had gathered the ball cleanly and  on 73 he successfully appealed to the television umpire after  umpire Billy Bowden had given him out caught behind by Dravid  from the third ball of Dhoni’s second over.
The runs continued to flow and after batting for a minute  short of five hours, Pietersen reached his century with another  emphatic on-drive for four off Ishant Sharma, his 10th of the  innings.
Ian Bell (45) kept him company in a fourth-wicket  partnership of 110 before he fell to Kumar caught behind by   Dhoni diving to his right. Eoin Morgan succumbed three balls  later for a duck to the same combination pushing tentatively  forward.
At 270 for five, India were back in the game but their lack  of bowling resources were exposed when Pietersen and Matt Prior  (71 from 93 balls) plundered 120 from 167 balls.
Prior’s enterprising innings ended when he was caught behind  off Kumar, who dismissed Stuart Broad lbw with his next  delivery.
Pietersen reached his 150 with a boundary to mid-wicket and  struck the next delivery over mid-off for another four. Graeme  Swann kept him company before he was bowled by Suresh Raina’s  part-time off-spin for 24.
With only the tail remaining, Pietersen hit Raina for a four  followed by the first six of the match and then cracked another  boundary to reach his 200 at which stage Andrew Strauss  declared. His final 50 runs had taken only 25 balls.

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