That was my best Test innings, says Pietersen

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The Independent Online

"Maybe the bowling attack is not as good as Australia's, but the way I went about my innings was better than at the Oval. When I came out to bat I did not want to be the guy who gave them a double wicket after a big partnership, so I played as straight as I could for as long as I could in this innings.

"I thought it was a much more patient innings. I worked myself out over the winter, and instead of just going out and spraying it to all parts of the stadium, I thought I cultivated a pretty good, sensible innings.

"My conversion rate of fifties into hundreds is something I am working hard to improve. I think there is a button inside me which I have now pushed and I feel I can now start converting a lot more of those fifties into [big] hundreds."

He was also pleased to see how well Sajid Mahmood performed on his debut. "To have the likes of Sajid and Steve Harmison in the attack as well as Simon Jones and Andrew Flintoff, I am a batsman who definitely would not want to come up against those four. It is fantastic for English cricket to have these youngsters coming in for injured players and performing so well."

Pietersen did however admit that it had been a slightly nervy start on his debut from Lancashire paceman Mahmood.

"In his first over he bowled three or four down the leg side and he said 'I might bowl a couple of maidens here'. I said 'You might need a leg slip as well'," Pietersen recalled.

The veteran opening batsman Sanath Jayasuriya is due to bolster the Sri Lankan ranks today.

Without him yesterday, Sri Lanka's young batsmen were blown away by Mahmood, with only captain Mahela Jayawardene appearing comfortable.

"The feeling in the dressing room is one of disappointment," said team manager Michael Tissera.

"I don't think it is the speed that worries them, it was just a little bit of movement and a couple of fellows got caught on the crease."

There was one shadow over England yesterday when opener Andrew Strauss sprained his right ankle and had to go to hospital for treatment.

Strauss sustained the injury during England's warm-up before the start of play. It happened in slip practice but fortunately an X-ray on the joint revealed no fracture. However, the England management took no chances and the 12th man, Rikki Clarke, replaced Strauss in the field after Andrew Flintoff's mid-afternoon declaration, and the opener's injury will be reassessed today.

Moment of the day

It was not Kevin Pietersen's best shot but it was the one he enjoyed most because it gave him a Lord's ton. As the edge off Muttiah Muralitharan rolled to the third man boundary, Pietersen raised his arms in joy - immediately followed by the crowd.

Shot of the day

Muttiah Muralitharan named Andrew Flintoff as his No 1 target in this series, but the England captain took the honours here. He hoisted Murali twice over midwicket for six then, after the second maximum, declared the innings, putting the spinner in his place.

Ball of the day

Sajid Mahmood will take wickets with better deliveries than that which gave him his first Test scalp but few will mean more. Kumar Sangakkara is a high-quality player but the bowler's extra pace forced him to drive wildly. Marcus Trescothick did the rest.

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