Kevin Pietersen to make return from injury for Surrey later this week ahead of Ashes series
England batsman will be given two games two prove he is fit to feature in the first Test at Trent Bridge on July 10th
Sunday 16 June 2013
Alastair Cook admitted England rode their luck to reach the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy after the tightest of no-ball decisions fell in their favour at a critical moment against New Zealand.
With New Zealand needing 35 from 17 balls to win the match, reduced to 24 overs per side because of rain, Stuart Broad had Kane Williamson caught at mid-off. Replays showed the tiniest part of Broad&'s boot might just have been behind the line when he delivered the ball, and third umpire Steve Davis chose to uphold on-field official Rod Tucker's decision.
Williamson was starting to attack and had made 67 from 54 balls. England captain Cook conceded that had the Kiwi batsman been reprieved, his side could not have felt mistreated.
England's 10-run win helped put the ball-tampering issue to bed and booked a semi-final against either India or South Africa, with the opponents to be confirmed after Sri Lanka meet Australia today.
"On those decisions you probably have to go with the on-field umpire's call but if he had given a no-ball, we could not have had any complaints," said Cook, whose 64 from 47 deliveries earned him the man-of-the-match award. "Broady said that it might have been close; I didn't realise just how close.
"Even on the big screen, it looked as though a part of his foot landed just behind the line and then slid forward. New Zealand might have seen it differently but there will always be fine margins in sport. A reduced game like that is always nerve-wracking for the captain."
Cook's current priority is the Champions Trophy but he and team director Andy Flower will have been cheered by a tweet from Kevin Pietersen, which revealed he expects to play in Surrey's Championship match against Yorkshire at Headingley, starting on Friday.
It would be Pietersen's first taste of competitive cricket since a knee injury ruled him out of the third Test in New Zealand in March. While Pietersen aims for the start of the Ashes on 10 July, Cook remains cautious about Graeme Swann after the off-spinner missed his second game in the tournament, this time with a tight calf.
"We will play it safe with him," he said. "It depends how he pulls up but he will not be risked, because we're in the fortunate position of having James Tred-well, who is doing a great job for us.
"We've played pretty well in all three of our first-round games," Cook added. “Any team will be dangerous and we will have to be on top of our game in the semis.”
Despite losing in south Wales, New Zealand could still join England in the last four if Australia beat Sri Lanka by a slim margin. With a knowing smile, captain Brendon McCullum said: “We would love Australia to play some excellent cricket and win – as long as they don’t play too well. If we end up in the semi-finals, you never know what could happen.”
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1 player ratings: Carlos Tevez, Cristiano Ronaldo and Alvaro Morata on target - but who scored highest?
Cristiano Ronaldo sticks up for Japanese boy after he struggles to speak Portuguese
Juventus vs Real Madrid match report: Carlos Tevez gives Juve the edge after goals from Alvaro Morata and Cristiano Ronaldo
Gareth Bale performance slammed by Roy Keane, Paul Scholes and Lee Dixon: 'His team-mates can't be happy'
David Beckham reveals secret of his success: I 'stayed in to watch Match of the Day' rather than go out with friends on a Saturday night
- 4 Frankie Boyle on Scottish independence: 'In the Interests of Unity, F**k Off'
- 5 Florida couple forced to register as sex offenders for having sex on public beach
In defence of liberal democracy
General Election 2015: Post-election 'shambles' looms as 70 per cent of voters say SNP 'should not be able to veto UK government policies'
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils