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Page last updated at 13:05 GMT, Sunday, 21 December 2008

Late wickets deflate Pietersen

TMS Close of Play - Second Test, day three

Captain Kevin Pietersen said the loss of himself and Andrew Flintoff in the final two overs on day three gave his team little chance in the final Test.

"It's definitely put a dampener on my evening," said a subdued skipper, who hit 144 in England's 282-6, 171 adrift.

"We were in a really good position to get close to their total but will have to fight really hard now," he said.

"From where we are it will be a hell of an effort to force a victory so a draw is probably our best option now."

There was surprise in the just the third over of the day with England two wickets down for just one run, when India brought on slow left-armer Yuvraj Singh to bowl at Pietersen, with whom he has frequently been involved in verbal altercations.

"When the ball is swinging and seaming to have a spinner bowling at you is not the worst thing in the world," he said.

"He's got me out a couple of times and I'm his so-called bunny but he's not good enough to call anyone his bunny.

"I'd rather face a pie-chucker like him all day than Zaheer Khan with the new ball."

Pietersen again employed the exciting switch-hit, where he changes stance with the ball in mid-flight and hooks to leg as if a left-hander.

The first one he attempted soared over mid-wicket for six and though he missed out with another couple, he also swept a four with the stroke.

"It's a question of playing it when the field is right to play it," said the captain. "It was fun but the game situation I'm not happy with.

Pietersen was full of praise for his talismanic all-rounder Andrew Flintoff, who made an entertaining 62 in a stand of 149.

"He's a superstar and played a fantastic knock," he said. "I enjoy batting with him because the scoreboard keeps moving."

Meanwhile India spinner Harbhajan Singh, who crucially dismissed Pietersen, showed great admiration for the England's captain's batting.


"I haven't seen any guy coming over here and batting like that, it was a tremendous innings," he said.

Harbhajan was the unfortunate bowler when Pietersen hit him for six with the infamous switch hit and said: "You can't do anything about that, he's a tremendous player.

"I don't really know how to react, I'd like to hit him with the bat," the spinner quipped.

"They were taking the game away from us so we are delighted to take those two late wickets."

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see also
India rally after Pietersen ton
21 Dec 08 |  England
Jonathan Agnew column
21 Dec 08 |  England
India duo leave England trailing
20 Dec 08 |  England
England crushed by Tendulkar ton
15 Dec 08 |  England
England in India 2008
01 Dec 08 |  Cricket

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