At 3.47pm yesterday Kevin Pietersen hit a ball from Makhaya Ntini through wide midwicket and into a little bit of cricket history. It was the 15th boundary of his magnificent innings and it not only brought up his century, it elevated him into a select group of England captains who have scored a hundred in their first Test in charge.
His scriptwriters must have been the same ones employed by Ian Botham all those years ago. "I've had a few text messages this evening asking me who writes them," he said with a grin. "But I just play the game I love. I just love playing cricket.
"The nonsense that happens before the game is something you have to do as captain, the scrutiny that goes with it, the attention. But you have to get on with it. I was so happy when I flipped the coin yesterday because I knew that the cricket was on its way. That is the stuff I love."
Archie MacLaren was the first to reach a hundred on his captaincy debut, in 1897. Almost 100 years later along came Allan Lamb, in 1990, followed by Andrew Strauss in 2006.
Pietersen wanted to carry on his "love-in" and hand out credit to the rest of his players, most notably Stephen Harmison, who was stranded one short of his maiden Test fifty. "Steve was magnificent today," he said. "He loves batting against South Africa, I think.
"He had 42 in Cape Town and now 49 here. I wanted Steve to get his fifty more than I wanted me to get my hundred. He deserves it, he has been away from the game for six months and I love him. He is a great, great lad. To see him back, to see him smiling, to see him laughing, it's lovely to be in the dressing room with him."
Pietersen is clearly not going to let the captaincy affect his game. "I just batted like I normally bat. You can't be a captain when you are batting. You just have to go out and bat and make sure you try to score as many runs as you can. The most important thing is that I keep scoring my runs as well as developing my relationship with the players, the lads. That has come on in leaps and bounds. In the three or four days that I have been in charge I have been getting to know a lot more about the players and how the guys operate. It's brilliant. You get a different perspective.
"I wouldn't say the England captaincy is an easy job, because then it can only get worse if you look at it that way. I am living and doing exactly what I need to do every day. I am enjoying myself. I have had more good days than bad days in my career so far. I've just got to do it."Reuse content