England’s utter domination of Australia continued unabated in Adelaide. For the fifth consecutive day of the Ashes series, the tourists ran their opponents ragged and this time it was Kevin Pietersen who led the mauling.
With his first Test century in 28 innings – which he converted into his second double – Pietersen ensured that Australia spent another long, unrewarding day in the field. There have been times in the past year when it seemed the old Pietersen might never re-emerge but he illuminated the Adelaide Oval with an innings of verve, imagination, skill and supreme confidence.
The first hundred came early on the third day in 158 balls, the second took only 125 balls and after he had sprinted the sharp single which raised it he sank to his knees before the rapturous England fans. When rain brought a premature end to the day, England were 551 for three, which meant that from the beginning of their second innings in the First Test in Brisbane, the tourists had scored 1068 for five in 267 overs.
Their partnerships in this match, replying to Australia’s first innings 245, have been 3, 173, 175, 101 and an unbeaten 99. Only once before at The Oval in 1938, also against Australia, has an England innings contained four partnerships of 100 or more.
It was Pietersen’s day from start to early finish. Alastair Cook added only 12 to his overnight 136 before he got an inside edge to a ball from Ryan Harris that cut in. Paul Collingwood, circumspect initially, provided the perfect foil to Pietersen before being lbw on the back foot and then Ian Bell once more fashioned an innings of elegance and beauty.
Australia’s bowlers wilted under the withering assault – England scored in 26 overs of the first session and 102 in 28 of the second – and three of them brought up hundreds of their own in the runs column of their analysis.
Pietersen has had a troubling time since losing the captaincy in acrimonious circumstances in early 2009. An achilles injury forced him to most of that summer’s Ashes series and complications in the recovery were followed by an long struggle to rediscover his form.