Comment: A century to remember

It would appear that Kevin Pietersen is a masterful horseman as well as a master batsman, to judge by the way he rode his luck after lunch today to the extent of becoming only the fourth England captain to score a century in his first match as captain.

The previous players to have achieved the feat were Archie MacLaren, against Australia in Sydney in December 1897, Allan Lamb against the West Indies in Bridgetown in April 1990 and Andrew Strauss against Pakistan in July 2006.

He may have started his first Test as England captain by losing the toss, but the Hampshire player has more than made up for that since. He nearly did not reach the 14th hundred of his test career – and third on this ground.

He had just passed fifty when Pietersen top edged a pull off Morné Morkel into the deep. It looked as if Paul Harris at deep square leg should have attempted to have taken the catch but Makhaya Ntini at long leg clearly called for it, sprinted 20 yards, dived full length – and didn’t get so much as a finger nail on the ball.

The crowd’s delight bordered on the hysterical. There was an interval of ten minutes, ostensibly for bad light, but in reality to let the England fans recover their breath, then came another Pietersen-Ntini sideshow.

This time the hapless bowler was André Nel. Another attempted pull, another miscue this time the ball flying high over mid-on. Ntini raced back towards the boundary, the crowd yelling wildly. The fielder launched himself in a despairing attempt to make the catch. The ball struck his outstretched palms – then bounced off them and headed for the rope. In the end Ntini did well to save the four. The England supporters loved it.

So did Pietersen. Especially when he reached three figures. His joy was unalloyed, uninhibited. As was that of the fans. Unfortunately this emotion was quickly followed by grief, when two balls later he was snapped up at slip. But his was still a great achievement.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss