Pietersen sparkles as England close in on victory

Top performer: Monty Panesar has led England's revival
Top performer: Monty Panesar has led England's revival
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KEVIN Pietersen reflected on a “satisfying” century but said his 22nd Test hundred would mean a lot more if, as expected, it is part of a famous victory over India.

The most mercurial cricketer of his generation, Pietersen displayed an uncanny mastery of conditions and of world-class opponents to follow his captain Alastair Cook in equalling the all-time England record for Test tons.

Their double-century partnership put the tourists on course for a total of 413 all out, allowing Monty Panesar (five for 61) and Graeme Swann the leeway to exploit spinners’ conditions at the Wankhede Stadium. India closed on 117 for seven, just 31 runs in front, and surely on course to lose today in a series which will then stand 1-1 with two to play.

There was an understatement in much of what England’s returning hero Pietersen said afterwards, which contrasted with his supreme batsmanship.

“It was a pretty difficult wicket,” he said. “You knew that at some stage a ball had your name on it, so to have got some (runs) on that was satisfying.”

Pietersen’s performance will inevitably be set in the context of his long summer of contract wrangles, and his “reintegration” as an England cricketer only after a tortuous series of clear-the-air meetings with management and team-mates.

In an environment which prizes the team ethos above all, he was at pains today to stress that his personal glory will count for little without consequent collective success.

“It will mean a lot more if we win,” he added. “Getting hundreds for England, and especially Cookie going to 22 and then saying to me ‘you haven’t got far to go, then you’re there as well’ ... it was a special moment.

“’Chef’ was magnificent, and it’s a great feeling to be at the top of the list with him.”

England Test squad members Joe Root, who hails from Sheffield, Stuart Meaker and Graham Onions today join the Performance Programme in training before this week’s three-day fixture.