Toughest wicket to score on: Pietersen
Nagpur, Dec 13: The only other participant of the ongoing India-England Test series that Alastair Cook has had to fight for most amount of limelight is the 22 yards of land in the middle of all the venues. On the first day of the fourth and final Test, the barren, cream-coloured strip of the VCA Stadium defeated the England captain in that regards.
Kevin Pietersen, England’s top run-scorer of the day with 73, termed it as “The toughest wicket I’ve played Test cricket on in terms of playing strokes as a batsman.”
What about the Nagpur pitch? How will it behave over the duration of this match? Pietersen, who batted on it for 208 minutes and played 188 balls, had to say this: “I don’t have a clue how this pitch will play because even now it looks exactly the same as it did during the start of the day. My guess is as good as anybody’s in this room.”
He didn’t want to speculate on the wicket but he sure knew how it played on the first day of the Test. And at the end of it, Pietersen hinted that India’s decision to field a solitary fast bowler, Ishant Sharma, might backfire.
“I think the key today was to try and bat as long as possible because I don’t think that wicket’s getting better,” Pietersen said. “I think we’re in a position of strength having two seamers in the side. I found it incredibly difficult to play and score against Ishant today. Hopefully, Bressie [Tim Bresnan] and Jimmy [Anderson] can do a good job for us.”
Expecting the two pacers to cause some serious jitters in the Indian batting line-up, Pietersen was of the view that England’s 199 for 5 at the end of Day 1 was a par score. With Matt Prior and debutant Joe Root looking solid during their unbeaten 60-run partnership, the visitors can add a few more runs significant runs to the total.
Pietersen, who was at the crease when Root took guard for the first time in Test cricket, had some nice words to say about the 21-year-old.
“Joe was brilliant,” said the senior teammate. “He’s his own man, he played some lovely cricket shots and has a good head on his shoulders. Never judge anybody after a couple of hours of batting for England but he showed signs of what could be a very good Test career. He’s a good little player and he’s a lovely man as well. He’s a good human being,” Pietersen said.
The England batsman was also impressed with the debutant in the opposite camp. “Jadeja has got some incredible stats in the Ranji Trophy this year. I saw them when I was waiting to bat,” Pietersen said, referring to the 24-year-old’s twin-triple centuries and a bagful of wickets. “His intensity on the field is good.”