Kevin Pietersen grateful for warm reception after coming in from cold

 

Sometime yesterday the process of reintegration was finally completed. It might have been when Kevin Pietersen reached his hundred with a reverse sweep for four. Or as he drove hard to mid-off and dashed a single to take England into the lead in the second Test.

Or the shot when he disdainfully struck the third of his four sixes, almost a nonchalant club over cover off the left-arm spin which has so often been his nemesis. Whenever it was, it was the moment that England might truly have become a team again.

The rapprochement between Pietersen (right) and England has been carefully stage-managed to make it seem as though the discord which necessitated it never took place. After his masterly 186 yesterday, which helped England to a controlling position in Mumbai, it was hardly a surprise that Pietersen was not about to dwell on the cantankerous past.

He said: "The dressing room is absolutely fantastic. We're sticking together really well. The boys are all helping each other out, we're working hard as we always do and we're also not letting things get on top of us.

"If anybody is going through a bit of a rough time, we've got everybody else who's right behind them. It's a very united dressing room at the moment and it will be even more united if we manage to pull off a brilliant victory."

Pietersen himself must have been going through a bit of a rough time when he was one of the serious batting failures in the first Test. It was as though he wanted too much to prove himself again, though he had a simple explanation, more technical and less connected with cod psychology.

"I wasn't playing well at all going into Ahmedabad," he said. "I didn't trust my defence as much as I did coming into this match. And as a batter if you don't trust your defence you try too many things, you try and force the issue.

"So I went and did a lot of hard work as I always do and luckily it might have paid off. It was a pretty difficult wicket, the ball was bouncing and turning and you knew that at some stage a ball had your name on it. To have got some [runs] on that was satisfying."

Pietersen shared a partnership of 206 with Alastair Cook, the 12th partnership above 100 between the pair, and England's highest for the third wicket in India. They may be of utterly different styles, but they do confirm the notion that opposites attract.

They average 64 together and almost together reached their 22nd hundreds for England. Nobody yet has 23 but by the end of this year one, perhaps both, of this duo will go past the legendary triumvirate of Wally Hammond, Colin Cowdrey and Geoff Boycott.

Of Cook, Pietersen said, showing that elevation to the captaincy has not amended his nickname: "Chef was magnificent. It was a great feeling to go to the top of the list with Chef and when he got there he told me that I needed only five more." Perhaps they ought to call him head chef in future.

However happy everybody is now, there were times late in the summer when it seemed that Pietersen's international career might be over. Lest it be forgotten, he was originally omitted from the party for this tour. In the nick of time, perhaps, both parties realised they needed each other, as yesterday's events illustrated. Not that Pietersen ever thought it was over.

"I never know what's going to happen tomorrow," he said. "I don't take myself that seriously. I do everything on a day-to-day basis. What will be, will be."

What there was yesterday was stupendous.

Timeline: How The third day unfolded in mumbai

4:10am GMT England resume

Cook and Pietersen continue steadily but begin to live dangerously. The latter's thick outside edge just passes the slips and a risky single nearly results in a run-out.

4:36am Cook and Pietersen centuries

Cook reaches his ton, a record-equalling 22nd for him; Pietersen also joins the 22 club a few moments later off just 127 balls.

5:24am Wkt, Cook c Dohni b Ashwin 122

England are plodding along nicely, but India get their big wicket. Cook's faint nick from Ashwin is caught by Dhoni, leaving England on 274-3.

5:32am Wkt, Bairstow c Gambhir b Ojha 9

The new ball arrives but Pietersen battles on, before Bairstow's leading edge from Ojha's delivery is caught at silly point by Gambhir on the stroke of lunch.

7:05am Pietersen 150

Here's the Pietersen we all wanted to see. He reaches 150 in style, cutting for four on one knee, leaving England on 327-4.

7:35am Patel and Pietersen dismissed

Progress is halted with Patel caught for 26; Pietersen's stint comes to an end after a big swipe is caught behind, with England on 382-6.

8:20am Remaining batsmen fall

From 406-6, England collapse for just seven runs. Prior walks for 21 after a messy run-out while Broad, Anderson and Panesar fall in quick succession. England are 413 all out.

10:05am: India's top order collapses

England's spinners deny a quick India reply. Sehwag, Pujara (right) and Tendulkar go for single figures, leaving the hosts on 52-3.

11:08am: Stumps, India 117-7

Appeals aplenty as Panesar and Swann wreak havoc, taking all the wickets with India closing on 117-7, leading by 31. Gerard Brand

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