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Pietersen Hits Double Century; England Pile Up 551-4

PTI 05 Dec 2010, 14:44:55 IST
Adelaide, Dec 5 : Kevin Pietersen scored a double century for the second time in his test career as England reached 551-4 at stumps Sunday to take a commanding 306-run lead against Australia before play was stopped by rain on the third day of the second Ashes test.

With showers predicted for the next couple of days, England will likely declare before lunch Monday to prevent Australia from being able to draw the match and take the series into the third test at Perth level at 0-0.

If England does not declare, Pietersen will resume Monday on 213 not out and Ian Bell on 41.

Pietersen, who came to the wicket before tea on Saturday afternoon, had gone 27 test innings without making a hundred, dating back to March 2009.

He credits both a new mentality and technical work with longtime mentor Graham Ford, the former South African cricket coach, as being key to his breakthrough.

"Fordy's a legend, the work I did with him in South Africa was amazing," Pietersen said. "The two or three little things that we worked on in South Africa have got me back to where I used to play."

"When you're batting for that amount of time, you find a pace where you go through," he added. "The key to what I've done is the little things I've worked on."

England, following its 517-1 declared in the second innings of the first Ashes test at Brisbane, has now passed 500 in consecutive innings for the first time against Australia.

"It's not a surprise at all as we all know what each other's capable of," Pietersen said. "We were quietly confident we could come out here and do a really good job — a lot better than we did last time."

Despite a sore hamstring, which the South African-born batsman insists is not a problem, Pietersen reached his double century with a quick single to mid off and then punched the air and saluted the England fans at the Adelaide Oval.

"It's wonderful to get runs and put the team in a position where we can win a game in Australia," he said.

Alastair Cook was the first batsman to be dismissed on the second day when he inside-edged Ryan Harris behind to Brad Haddin for 148. The Englishman had gone 1,057 minutes without losing his wicket, going back to his second innings of 235 not out at the drawn first test in Brisbane.

Paul Collingwood fell after lunch out lbw to Shane Watson for 42.

Harris and a tired-looking Watson have been the only bowlers to pose any threat at all for Australia, with Doug Bollinger proving as expensive and wayward as the left-arm quick bowler he replaced, Mitchell Johnson.

Australia's hat-trick hero of the first test, Peter Siddle, has also struggled, with Pietersen seemingly pulling him to the legside boundary at will.

Spinner Xavier Doherty has figures of 0-120 off 24 overs despite signs of turn in the pitch and looks to be less of a threat than second-string spin option Marcus North.

Australia was all out for 245 in its first innings, with James Anderson taking 4-51. England got off to a terrible start with Andrew Strauss bowled by Bollinger for 1 before Cook and Jonathan Trott (78) began England's impressive response. AP