Kevin Pietersen announced before the start of the Pakistan Super League that his stint with the Quetta Gladiators would be last of his professional career. Although Pietersen only scored 7 runs in his last innings, against Islamabad United, it cannot take away from the staggering career he had which spanned over a decade. Pietersen is the second highest all-time run scorer for England, behind Alastair Cook.
KP amassed 8181 runs in 104 tests at 47.28 before his career was cut short because of his differences with players and management after a disastrous 2013-14 Ashes campaign Down Under. Here we look at some of Kevin Pietersen’s highest impact knocks in the Test arena.
158 v Australia at Oval 2005
This was the innings when Kevin Pietersen announced himself on the big stage, his first test match hundred and arguably one of the greatest knock in the folklore of English cricket. It secured their first Ashes win since 1986. England, leading the series 2-1 were in a spot of bother in the second innings with Glenn McGrath on a hat-trick after dismissing Michael Vaughan and Ian Bell and England had a lead of just 81.
This innings from Pietersen was a bit nervy to start. He got hit by Brett Lee and McGrath on the shoulder a couple of times but what followed afterwards was the KP show. He not only took the game to Brett Lee and Shaun Tait firing bouncers at 150 kph but also negated the Sharne Warne effect on the fifth day. Pietersen’s knock ensured that the ‘Ashes urn’ would return to England after 19 years and by the time he got out England led by 314 runs, all hopes of the Aussies drawing the series were diminished.
186 v India at Wankhede, Mumbai 2012
After the 3-0 clean sweep by Pakistan in the start of 2012, where England players were clueless against the spin, many of the pundits didn’t gave them a chance against the Indians and that is exactly what happened as India won the first test match by 9 wickets.
Come to the second test where Kevin Pietersen took charge of the proceedings. On a spin dust bowl, KP took the Indian spin trio of Ravichandran Ashwin, Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha to the cleaners. KP reached his hundred in just 126 balls and his partnership of 206 with Captain Alastair Cook changed the momentum of the whole series and England went on to take an unlikely 2-1 series win in India.
149 v South Africa at Headingley 2012
On a seamer friendly wicket and overcast conditions Kevin Pietersen took the South African pace battery of Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel, all at the peak of their powers, to the cleaners.
There was authority, defiance and touch of arrogance about his stroke play. Where his fellow teammates found it difficult to bat he cruised to his 21st test century in just 142 balls eventually going on to score 149 off 214.
151 v SriLanka at PSS Colombo 2012
This innings from KP was a masterclass of his mental as well as physical toughness, not only his foot work against spin was immaculate but he also battled hard against hot and humid conditions, which most non-subcontinent players find difficult to cope with. His knock not only helped the tourists to drew the series level but also to their first test victory in Sri Lanka since 2000-01 series.
227 v Australia at Adelaide Oval 2010
The 2nd test match against England’s arch rivals Australia saw Pietersen become just the fifth overseas player to score a double ton on this ground. He was brutal from the very start and pulverised the Australian bowling attack to all corners of the ground.
This is his highest test score and this innings propelled England to 5/620 dec and a comfortable innings victory which paved the way for England’s first Ashes series win on Australian soil since 1986-87.
142 v Sri Lanka at Edgbaston 2006
In a low scoring encounter against the tourists, Kevin Pietersen was the only batsmen to reach the three digit mark, where nobody from either side, scored a fifty.
He scored 142 runs in England’s team total of 295. Such was his confidence on a difficult pitch that he switched hit Muttiah Muralitharan for a massive six.
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