Pietersen's spectacular assault sends Australia crashing again

Kevin Pietersen hammered a brilliant, unbeaten 91 to drive England to a three-wicket victory over Australia with 15 balls to spare in Bristol yesterday.

Kevin Pietersen hammered a brilliant, unbeaten 91 to drive England to a three-wicket victory over Australia with 15 balls to spare in Bristol yesterday.

The defeat was Australia's second in the NatWest Series. They suffered a humiliating loss to Bangladesh in Cardiff on Saturday and arrived in Bristol later than planned after apparently turning down the offer of a police escort.

The day belonged to Hampshire's Pietersen, who entered this match with a one-day international batting average of 139.5, having scored 558 in nine previous innings. Yesterday's knock contained four sixes and eight fours off the 65 balls he faced and took his average to 162.25.

The platform for victory had been laid by the Durham fast bowler Steve Harmison, who claimed a career best 5 for 33 as England restricted Australia to 252 for 9. Harmison was on a hat-trick as he took four wickets in 15 balls.

Harmison claimed the wickets of Adam Gilchrist, the captain Ricky Ponting, Damien Martyn and then Matthew Hayden, caught brilliantly by Paul Collingwood. Mike Hussey kept England waiting until he had scored a career-best 84 before he was bowled by Harmison - the first time he had been dismissed in his one-day career to date.

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