A Kevin Pietersen century is never a dull affair and his unbeaten 104 here yesterday did not contradict that description, even though it lacked some of the take-the-breath-away qualities of the thriller he compiled against Sri Lanka at Edgbaston earlier in the summer.
This time it was not the nature of his hitting, but the circumstances in which his progress was temporaily halted, a sustained bout of cramp in the left forearm precipitating the decision to retire hurt.
It did not stop him from peppering the boundaries with 15 fours and a couple of sixes, nor from leaping in the air and waving his bat wildly - with his right arm - when he passed three figures for the fifth time in Tests but, after three times needing treatment, he left the field in order to receive further attention.
"The adrenalin takes over when you hit the ball but afterwards it was painful and would freeze," he said. "I could not grip the bat as I wanted so there was no option but to come off."
It was a day of good fortune for Pietersen, who survived a decision to be given not out on two, Pakistan being convinced he had been caught behind off an inside edge on to pad, and was caught behind off a no-ball on 29. Shahid Nazir was the bowler both times.
"I didn't walk because I was not 100 per cent sure I had hit the ball," he said. "I'm sure I'm not the only batsman in the world who doesn't walk. I'm not there to make those decisions."
The 26-year-old feels if England can turn their overnight position into 400 or more they will have performed well, although he stressed that a wicket that offered some help to seam and swing had not yet become easier for batting.
"The wicket did not get any easier through the day and there were some really good balls bowled by Umar Gul at the end," he said.
After he had been been overshadowed by Alastair Cook, Ian Bell, Paul Collingwood and Andrew Strauss so far this series, Pietersen's celebrations spoke of relief at being back in the spotlight. The suggestion brought a defensive reply.
"It is not important for me to be in the spotlight," he said. "Some of the others have done fantastically well but having made a few starts and not gone on it was nice to get that hundred. In my job there is no better feeling."Reuse content