Friday, April 6, 2012

Majestic Pietersen puts England in control

Kevin Pietersen dominated proceedings on day three to put England firmly in control of the second Test in Colombo.

Pietersen came to the crease with his side 213-2 after the dismissal of Alastair Cook six short of a well-deserved century. The groundwork of the innings had been laid by the top three and Pietersen built on that foundation with a swashbuckling 151 off only 165 balls.

England were eventually bowled out for 460 shortly before the end of play, leaving Sri Lanka 185 runs behind and having to face one tricky over before the close. Nightwatchman Dhammika Prasad saw off six balls from James Anderson to take Sri Lanka to 4-0 at stumps.

Starting the day on 154-1 and still 121 runs short of Sri Lanka’s first innings total, Cook and Jonathan Trott continued to build on England’s strong start.

Tillakaratne Dilshan had Cook caught at slip and that is when the fireworks began. Pietersen looked in ominous form early in his innings – launching a series of sixes down the ground.

The South African-born star lost Trott (64) but continued to dominate the bowling on his way to a 109-ball century, his 20th at Test level. Pietersen was warned for time-wasting just before bringing up his ton after moving into position too early for his trademark switch-hit.

The number four shrugged off the controversy to move serenely to 150, with no other player looking comfortable on the surface. Ian Bell (18) and Matt Prior (11) were caught trying to force the pace before Pietersen fell lbw to Rangana Herath.

Herath went on to claim three more wickets in a haul of 6-133 as England suffered a mini-collapse.

The tourists were in an excellent position at the end of day three, though, thanks in the main to the majestic Pietersen; a performance which will alter the course of cricket odds and cricket bets.

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