Having already declared his decision to play in the Indian Premier League to be the right one for his England career, Kevin Pietersen came up with spectacular justification in Delhi yesterday. While his England captain, Andrew Strauss, endured a day of frustration watching a washout at Lord's, Pietersen smashed his maiden Twenty20 century to propel Delhi Daredevils to a five-wicket win over Deccan Chargers.
Pietersen excited the home crowd with an unbeaten 103 off just 64 balls, sealing both the Delhi win and his own milestone with his ninth six at the start of the final over. It had not been an innings without incident – he was dropped on six, 68 and 94 as well as running out team-mate Ross Taylor.
Pietersen's county, Surrey, had a frustrating day at The Oval, where the opening day against Worcestershire went the same way as Middlesex against Durham at Lord's. Limited play was possible at Trent Bridge, where early leaders Nottinghamshire continued their rollercoaster start to the season in much the same vein as had characterised their wins over Worcestershire and Durham.
Bowled out for 118 by the former and 161 by the latter after losing the toss and being asked to bat first, they slumped to 34 for five after Somerset invite them to bat. Even without their South African fast bowler, Vernon Philander, who was ruled out with a sore back, a Somerset attack led by Steve Kirby and Peter Trego caused Notts more than enough problems.
Trego has never taken a five-wicket haul in first-class cricket yet he removed both the left-handers, Neil Edwards and Michael Lumb, leg before with deliveries that nipped back, and Alex Hales, Samit Patel and James Taylor all succumbed to poor shots.
Chris Read led a bold recovery with a rapid half-century but lost another partner when Lewis Gregory bowled Steven Mullaney. If this match follows the pattern of the first two, however, Notts will be equally dangerous with the ball and then bat better in the second innings, although their prospects are tempered by the absence of Andre Adams, their leading wicket-taker for the last two seasons, who has flu. Harry Gurney, the left-arm seamer who moved from Leicestershire during the winter, makes his debut.
At Liverpool, Ian Bell's first opportunity to find some form ahead of the domestic Test programme was delayed when Warwickshire chose to field against Lancashire, who had taken their total to 111 after 48 overs in tricky conditions before Karl Brown was their fourth man out.
In Port of Spain, rain put an early stop to the West Indies' chase of of 215 as the second Test against Australia ended as a draw. Australia declared at 160 for 8 early on the final afternoon and the home side were 53 for 2 before the weather intervened.