Pietersen heroics boost England

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The Independent Online

Australia obtained a first innings lead of 35 after bowling England out for 155 in the opening npower Test at Lord's despite some hitting from Kevin Pietersen and Simon Jones.

The last three wickets added 63 runs in 12 overs - with Pietersen scoring a maiden Test half century - after England had resumed on 92 for seven. Shane Warne opened proceedings from the Nursery End and the second delivery saw Pietersen survive a confident shot for leg before after not getting himself very far forward.

McGrath was given the ball at the pavilion end as he looked to repeat the deadly bowling of Thursday when his spell of five for 16 in 10 overs after tea destroyed the England top order.

Pietersen needed to play aggressively as he had only the tail left to accompany him and he sliced McGrath over third man to the boundary. He initially seemed content to take the single early in the over and allow new batsman Matthew Hoggard to have more than his fair share of the strike.

But the move back-fired when Warne broke through in his third over of the morning.

Hoggard had not troubled the scorers when he deliberately tried to cut the spinner only for Matthew Hayden to hold onto the chance at the second attempt at slip. That was the signal for Pietersen to launch an offensive against McGrath.

He straight drove him ferociously for four and lofted the next ball for six over long-off. Pietersen then crashed the next ball through the covers for another four to reach his 50 off 84 balls with eight fours and a six in his debut Test innings. Pietersen then took on his Hampshire county colleague Warne and despatched a massive six over the mid-wicket boundary but it was to be his last scoring shot.

He tried to repeat the shot on 57 but this time Damien Martyn made good ground around the boundary edge to take a sprawling two-handed catch at full stretch. That left England on 122 for nine but the last pair of Steve Harmison and Simon Jones entertained another capacity crowd with a stand of 33 in five overs.

Jones was the main aggressor and, when paceman Brett Lee replaced Warne, he conceded 13 runs in a single over before being taken out of the attack. McGrath's five overs in the morning cost 32 runs but Lee ended the innings with his first ball when replacing the veteran paceman as Harmison (11) drove straight to Martyn at mid-off. That left Jones unbeaten on 20 from just 14 balls.

England v Australia Lord's Overnight: Australia 190 (S J Harmison 5-43). England 92-7 (G D McGrath 5-21). England First Innings K P Pietersen c Martyn b Warne 57 M J Hoggard c Hayden b Warne 0 S J Harmison c Martyn b Lee 11 S P Jones not out 20 Extras b1 lb5 nb5 11 Total (48.1 overs) 155 Fall: 1-10 2-11 3-18 4-19 5-21 6-79 7-92 8-101 9-122 Bowling: McGrath 18 5 53 5 Lee 15.1 5 47 3 Gillespie 8 1 30 0 Warne 7 2 19 2 Umpires: Aleem Dar and R E Koertzen

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