Captain's self-confidence is catching on among his team-mates

Ah, the sweet swish of the new broom. There is nothing quite like that mellifluous sound in sport, in politics, in life to inspire dreams of reinvigoration, of fresh prosperity.

This is so, even when the broom in question sweeps back from under the carpet the debris brushed there after previous campaigns. Thus, Kevin Pietersen's one-day captaincy has been notable so far for persuading Stephen Harmison to come out of retirement and recalling Matthew Prior to open England's innings.

Not much in common there with the cleansing of the Augean stables but his sense of anticipation seems to have been widely shared. Pietersen is perhaps attempting something as daring as his resplendent batting by this recasting. He is backing himself to galvanise players by backing them.

Harmison is the chief, but not the solitary case in point. He had taken his one-day sweater home to Ashington two years ago to spend more time with his family, as is his wont. But the family, he explained, was now more settled and Pietersen had kept on at him about rescinding his resignation.

But Pietersen is not KP for nothing: he is also backing himself. He was energised last night, perpetually involved as batsman, bowler, fielder, captain, motivator. He could not help himself.

Almost all that he touched turned to gold. He had to rescue the side with the bat in tandem with the stunningly refreshed Andrew Flintoff. It gave him enough runs not only to plot but to take the occasional calculated risk.

When he called up Harmison, his favourite bowler responded with a wicket in his first over. When he summoned Samit Patel, the one concession to true new broomery, he did likewise. Patel is no more than a bit part left-arm spinner and never will be in the unlikely event that he plays 100 one-day internationals.

But he will remember bowling Herschelle Gibbs with the fourth ball of his first over in authentic international cricket – the one-dayer against Scotland last Monday being discounted. With all due respect, Patel might well claim to his grandchildren that his maiden international wicket was not Neil McCallum in Edinburgh, but Gibbs of South Africa in Leeds.

And then Pietersen decided to bowl himself. He was backing himself and almost immediately, AB De Villiers clipped him to mid-wicket. Shortly after, Pietersen gathered Ian Bell's smart throw to run out Jacques Kallis who was looking ominously like guiding the tourists to a 10th successive one-day win.

But England would not, could not have engineered this without Pietersen the batsman. The batting order has been restructured once more and they nearly mucked it up. Their start was too slow and then the batsmen got out.

But Pietersen and Flintoff batted with control and composure and eventually at a pace – 95 came in the final 10 overs – last seen in Usain Bolt's legs.

Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran performs at his Amazon Front Row event on Tuesday 30 September
musicHe spotted PM at private gig
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Mystery man: Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike in '‘Gone Girl'
films... by the director David Fincher
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
books(and not a Buzzfeed article in sight)
News
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Life and Style
stoptober... when the patch, gum and cold turkey had all faied
Travel
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
News
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?