Ashes: Kevin Pietersen double ton puts England on top
Second Ashes Test, Adelaide: Australia 245 all out v England 551-4 (day three, stumps) Venue: Adelaide Oval Date: 3-7 December. Play resumes 2330 GMT on 5 Dec Coverage: Listen live on Test Match Special on BBC Radio 4 LW (starts 2302 GMT), 5 live sports extra and online; live highlights and day's review on the
; text commentary on BBC Sport website and mobiles and live on Sky Sports 1 Match scorecard
Pietersen was back to his dazzling best after a modest recent run
By Jamie Lillywhite
Kevin Pietersen struck an imperious unbeaten 213 as England built a massive 306-run lead on day three of the second Test against Australia in Adelaide.
Pietersen hit a six and 31 fours as England made 551-4 before rain arrived at tea and prevented any further play.
Alastair Cook went for 148 during the morning, but Paul Collingwood (42) and Ian Bell (41 not out) kept Pietersen company in stands of 101 and 99.
It was the first time England had passed 500 in successive Ashes innings.
Pietersen's double century was only the seventh by an England batsman in Australia and a magnificent return to form by the 30-year-old former captain, who was left out of the one-day team at the end of the English domestic season.
He was back to his dominant best as he completed his first Test hundred since March 2009 in the sixth over of the day, having resumed on 85 not out.
Only barrel-chested Ryan Harris posed a serious threat to Pietersen, surprising him with a well-directed rising delivery which flew past his nose and then tempting him into a hook shot which resulted in a top edge that fortunately landed in space on the leg-side.
Harris captured the one wicket to fall before lunch when Cook, having batted for 1,058 minutes since his dismissal in the first innings of the opening Test in Brisbane, got an inside edge to one that nipped back and wicketkeeper Brad Haddin took an excellent catch low to his right having initially been wrong-footed.
Despite his departure, the runs continued to flow, prompting Australia captain Ricky Ponting to try a 7-2 off-side field, but Pietersen merely stepped across and whipped Doug Bollinger from off-stump to the mid-wicket boundary.
It was Pietersen's third century in the Ashes in his 14th match
And when Ponting put men out on the leg-side boundary during a spell by Peter Siddle, Pietersen accepted the challenge by disdainfully putting away two premeditated pull shots for four in the swaggering style of a baseball champion.
Siddle, his first Test hat-trick now a distant memory, did produce one delivery which swerved like a boomerang as it passed the stumps and went for four byes, but generally there was little assistance for the labouring Australian seamers.
Ponting then turned to his left-arm spinner Xavier Doherty, but he could only find turn when pitching closer to the edge of the cut strip than the stumps and was hit for two fours in his opening over.
Doherty was unable to provide the control his captain was looking for and was launched down the ground for six by Pietersen, a shot measured at 103 metres, as he again failed to live up to the hopes of the selectors, who preferred him to Nathan Hauritz at the start of the series.
The expanding patches of rough created by left-arm seamer Bollinger were more suited to off-spinner Marcus North, who was given 18 overs and turned some deliveries sharply, a fact that will not have escaped the notice of England spinner Graeme Swann and which makes Australia's task in trying to save the game even harder.
But Pietersen swept two fours off North in the final over before lunch, piercing two fielders barely 20 yards apart on the fence as England took their lead to 204 at the interval.
Watson admits rain delay is a 'plus'
Australia made a breakthrough in the third over of the afternoon session when Collingwood was pinned on the crease and adjudged plumb lbw to Shane Watson for a well constructed 42.
Bell settled quickly, however, and the only discomfort for Pietersen was an apparent hamstring niggle sustained as he pushed for the single to take him to 200.
The home side appeared to have run out of ideas as Bell maintained the momentum with some delightful drives, cuts and pulls and he could well have become England's fifth centurion of the tour had the clouds not closed in and rain ended proceedings prematurely.
England's total when the umpires called a halt was, ironically, the same score on which they declared in the corresponding Test four years ago - which they eventually lost by six wickets.
An indifferent forecast for the remainder of the match may make Andrew Strauss's calculations about when to call in his batsmen more difficult, but the tourists will still be confident of taking a 1-0 lead with three matches to play.
Meanwhile, Australia captain Ricky Ponting confirmed that opener Simon Katich would be fit to bat in their second innings despite suffering a heel injury while close fielding on the third day.
He was forced to leave the field for a lengthy period to receive ice treatment.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.