May 26 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Batsman shows his class with 163 on first day at Taunton
Surrey cricket manager Chris Adams was full of praise for Kevin Pietersen after he put his England issues to one side with an imperious 163 for Surrey on the opening day of the LV= County Championship clash with Somerset at Taunton.
Batting for a minute short of four hours and facing 168 balls, Pietersen struck 20 fours and three sixes in recording his 45th first-class century.
The next highest score in Surrey’s innings of 317 all out was Zander de Bruyn’s 34. Sajid Mahmood, on loan from Lancashire, claimed four for 62, striking Pietersen a painful blow on the left had towards the end of his innings.
That prevented Pietersen taking the field as Somerset plunged into trouble in reply, losing openers Arul Suppiah and Marcus Trescothick with only 16 on the board, before closing on 42 for two.
“Kevin looked as good as he ever has,” Adams said. “There are unresolved issues and the sooner there is a solution the better for everyone, and particularly Kevin himself.
“My job is to make sure he is in the right frame of mind to play well for Surrey. He has been superb in our dressing room and worked very hard in the nets.”
Surrey had looked in a spot of bother themselves at 44 for two after winning the toss when Pietersen strode to the crease to a warm ovation from a Taunton crowd basking in warm sunshine.
He endured a sticky start, with two close lbw shouts and a couple of false shots, before emerging to reach his half-century off 66 balls, with seven fours.
From then on Pietersen simply grew in stature, making batting look easy on a re-laid wicket that produced variable bounce and offered some turn for George Dockrell.
There was no suggestion of a weakness against left-arm spin as Pietersen handled Dockrell with ease, moving to his hundred with a contemptuous flick off his pads through mid-wicket for four off Alfonso Thomas.
He was 119 not out at tea, which was taken with Surrey 240 for five, and brought up the 250 with a towering six off Dockrell into the River Tone, having straight driven the previous delivery for four.
Former Somerset player de Bruyn, Gary Wilson (27) and Murali Kartik (23 not out) provided valuable support, Kartik sharing a last-wicket stand of 32 that ensured a third batting point before Pietersen finally fell to a catch at the wicket, becoming Mahmood’s fourth victim.
Mahmood and Steve Kirby (three for 34) were the pick of the Somerset attack, but Surrey’s total began to look more than useful when their seamers got to work.
Suppiah was caught behind for a duck off Jon Lewis, while Trescothick was surprised by the pace of Stuart Meaker and could only offer a soft return catch from a short ball having made three.
Meaker caused problems for Chris Jones and James Hildreth, who survived until the close, and will fancy his chances of making more inroads tomorrow.