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.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
News
news
Life and Style
Jack Cooksey goes for the grand unveiling - moments before dropping his new iPhone 6 on the floor
iphone launch
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
football
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

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

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week