Pietersen slams century as England fights back

England's Kevin Pietersen acknowledges the crowd after the close of play finishing on 149 not out...

England's Kevin Pietersen acknowledges the crowd after the close of play finishing on 149 not out during Day 3 of the second international Test against South Africa yesterday.

NORMAN DA COSTA, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:38 PM ET

No wonder Kevin Pietersen is considered one of the world’s hottest batting commodities. The right-hander struck a beautiful century in helping England make a fighting reply to South Africa on the third day of the second Test at Headingly, Leeds.

Pietersen finished unbeaten on 149 and helped England to 351 for five in reply to South Africa’s first innings knock of 419 on Saturday.

While South Africa’s opening batsman Alviro Petersen took centre stage on the first two days with his 182, it was Pietersen who grabbed the limelight on Saturday as he successfully dulled South Africa’s vaunted pace attack. Pietersen received superb support from Test debutante James Taylor who chipped in with 34 and starred in a fifth-wicket stand worth 147 runs. The 5-foot-5 Taylor finally had his stumps uprooted by the 6-foot-7 Mornie Morkel ... On Saturday diehard cricket fan Yohan Blake spent much of his morning watching the Test between England and South Africa on television before emerging for his 100-metre heat at the Olympic stadium. Blake easily won his heat in 10 seconds flat to book his place in Sunday’s semis along with fellow Jamaican sprinters Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell, also huge fans.

INDIA ON THE MOVE

India completed a 4-1 series win over Sri Lanka at Pallakele and climbed to No. 2 in the ODI rankings on Saturday.

Manoj Tiwary and Irfan Pathan, who are fighting for regular spots on the team, strengthened their claims for regular inclusion with outstanding performances during the series. Tiwary scored 65 in India’s total of 294 for seven and Pathan then struck with five for 61 Saturday to restrict Sri Lanka to 274. India’s total was also boosted by Gautham Gambhir’s 88 and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s 58. Sri Lanka’s Lahiru Thirimanne made 77 and Jeevan Mendis 72. . . . In Kingston, Jamaica, the West Indies look poised to finish the second Test versus visiting New Zealand in four days. After scoring a mere 260 in the first innings, the visitors dismissed the Windies for 209, a score that would have been ever lower had it not been for Marlon Samuels’ 123. But the Kiwis failed to press home their advantage as they struggled to 154 in the second innings. The damage was done by spinners Narsingh Deonarine (four for 37) and Sunil Narine (three for 19). West Indies need 206 for victory.

TOUGH GRIND FOR AUSSIES

Australia skipper Michael Clarke is bracing for the challenge his batsmen will face when they meet South Africa’s quickies in the home series later this year.

South Africa’s Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel played havoc with England in the first Test at the Oval a couple of weeks ago and Clarke knows they will be a handful on pace-friendly pitches in Australia. “It’ll be as fast as you’ll face in world cricket in those conditions. Fast and bouncy,’’ Clarke said. He expects his batsmen to rise to the occasion and now wants his own fast-bowling corps to give the visiting batsmen a torrid time.

Australia faces a hectic 15-month international grind and Clarke says his captaincy will be challenged. The Aussies begin with a one-day campaign versus Pakistan in Dubai soon followed by matches versus Sri Lanka and India, South Africa followed by the Ashes at home and away.

CASH BOOST

Cricket Canada received a financial boost on the first day of the national T20 championships at King City. The federal government made a $78,000 contribution through Sport Canada’s Sport Support Program for the 2012–2013 seasons. Canada’s top 65 high performance and elite players are taking part in the first competition of its nature in this country. “Implementing a sustainable regional competition that provides a clear pathway towards national selection can only be good for Canadian cricket,’’ said ICC high performance manager Richard Done ... The door is set to open for Pakistani players to cash in on the lucrative Indian Premier League now that there is a thaw in relationship between neighbours India and Pakistan. Expect to see teams bid for Shahid Afridi, Umar Gul, Mohammed Haafeez and Umar Akmal. Pakistanis were shut out the last four seasons following the Mumbai terrorist attacks. . . . Sachin Tendulkar has no intention of calling it a day anytime soon. The 39-year-old batting icon, who has scored more runs in international cricket than any other player, says he would like to carry on playing until he is 45. His only other passion than occupying the crease and churning out runs happens to be cars. Among the cars he has owned included a Ferrari, but he admits he has a love affair with BMWs.

BULL’S-EYE FOR ARCHERY

It’s unbelievable that Lord’s, that venerable shrine of bat and ball, has been taken over by Robin Hood’s bow and arrow crowd for archery during the Olympics. Interestingly, all the strict rules that apply to members on the hallowed grounds have been dispensed with. That includes: “Whilst in the pavilion, gentlemen shall wear ties and tailored coats and acceptable long trousers with appropriate shoes. Ladies should wear dresses, skirts or tailored trousers.’’ But the archers have been warned the use of cellphones is strictly forbidden.


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