Pietersen slams ton in first Test against SA
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England batsman Kevin Pietersen celebrated his first Test against his native South Africa on Thursday with an imperious 104 not out on the opening day of the first Test at Lord's. Pietersen survived a blow on the side of the helmet from Dale Steyn early in his innings to bat with increasing authority on a sun-dappled afternoon.
He was ably supported by Ian Bell, under pressure to retain his Test place, who contributed an unbeaten 75 in an England total of 309 for three at the close.
The pair came together with England wobbling slightly at 117 for three after an opening partnership of 114 between Andrew Strauss (44) and Alastair Cook (60).
Bell was initially the more fluent of the pair but it was Pietersen who seized the moment after tea. Pietersen profited from some friendly slow-arm bowling from Paul Harris, striking a four and a six off successive balls.
He crashed Steyn through the off for four then reached his half-century from 73 balls with a sweep for two off Harris followed by another boundary.
Bell lingered for 43 minutes in the 40s before reaching his 19th Test half-century and Pietersen was also restricted by accurate fast-medium bowling from Jacques Kallis. He regained the initiative by flicking Kallis to the long-on boundary, swept Harris fine for another four and welcomed Steyn's return with a boundary to long-on. His 13th Test century duly arrived with a four through the covers off Morne Morkel, greeted joyously by batsman and crowd alike.
England 1st innings: A Strauss lbw b Morkel 44, A Cook c de Villiers b Morkel 60, M Vaughan b Steyn 2, K Pietersen batting 104, I Bell batting 75
Extras (b-10 lb-2 w-1 nb-11) 24
Total (for three wickets, 90 overs) 309
Fall of wickets: 1-114 2-117 3-117
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