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Last Updated: Friday, 4 August 2006, 17:22 GMT 18:22 UK
Pietersen ton puts England on top

K Pietersen
England star Pietersen can resume his innings on Saturday

Kevin Pietersen's 104 allowed England to recover from a lunch score of 110-3 to hit 347-6 on the first day of the third Test against Pakistan.

Pietersen retired hurt with cramp in his forearm having blazed his runs from just 131 balls, but Ian Bell continued his fine form to be unbeaten on 66.

Bell and Chris Read (38), playing his first Test for more than two years, then put on 86 late in the day.

Umar Gul took four wickets, including two with the second new ball.

Despite thick cloud overhead, which did not dissipate until the final hour, Andrew Strauss elected to bat first after winning the toss.

He correctly trusted England's batsmen to deliver on a wicket that did provide some movement off the seam.

England's team sheet showed just one change from the line-up that won so convincingly at Old Trafford, with wicket-keeper Read replacing Geraint Jones.

I played a lot straighter than in a while and I'm pretty happy with 104 not out

Kevin Pietersen

There was no place for Gloucestershire swing bowler Jon Lewis, who might have enjoyed the bowling conditions at Headingley, as Lancashire paceman Sajid Mahmood retained his place in the team.

The tourists, however, made three changes.

One was enforced - the injured Imran Farhat had to be replaced and Salman Butt came in for him at the top of the order.

But the tourists also jettisoned all-rounders Abdul Razzaq and Shahid Afridi, as batsman Taufeeq Umar and seamer Shahid Nazir took their places.

Pakistan's seamers bowled too many short balls at the start, and Strauss and Marcus Trescothick tucked in.

But Mohammad Sami, bowling round the wicket in his second spell, got Pakistan's first breakthrough.

Trescothick (28) mistimed one and drove straight back to the bowler - Sami claiming the catch at the second attempt.

Pakistan failed to capitalise after reducing England to 67-2
Pakistan failed to capitalise after reducing England to 67-2

Then, four balls later, Strauss (36) nibbled at a Nazir delivery and Younis Khan held the chance low at second slip.

A score of 67-2 could have been 77-2, but Pietersen, on two, was given a reprieve by umpire Darrell Hair.

He got an inside edge to a Nazir delivery which then deflected off his thigh pad en route to the wicket-keeper.

It was a hard one to give but Pietersen was lucky nonetheless.

Less excusable was Billy Doctrove's decision to keep Alastair Cook, then on eight, at the crease when a clear deflection from the bat was visible to the naked eye. Sami was the unfortunate bowler that time.

Just as England appeared to have shaded the first session, Gul (4-73) struck in the last over before lunch.

Cook (23) got a leading edge back to the bowler, who dived forward to take a smart catch.

The hosts resumed after the interval on 110-3, and although Paul Collingwood got off the mark with a pulled six off Gul, he and Pietersen were batting patiently.

Chris Read
Chris Read enjoyed himself with the bat after a nervous start

Pietersen was then given a second slice of luck. Having reached 29, he got an inside-edge to a Nazir delivery that Kamran Akmal caught. But this time the bowler had over-stepped and umpire Hair called no-ball.

That seemed to lift the English star as he smashed a series of rasping drives off Nazir and a big six over long-off off Danish Kaneria.

His 50 came up soon after and he continued to accelerate the run rate as tea approached.

Collingwood was predictably less explosive but looked solid until top-edging Gul to deep square-leg, the only mistake he had made in an innings worth 31.

Pietersen began the final session on 82 and three consecutive fours off Sami took him to 99.


It was at this stage he first began to feel cramp in his forearm but he got the single he needed for his century.

The luckless Nazir had him dropped by Salman Butt at midwicket on 104 and Pietersen took that as his cue to retire and get some treatment.

When Read came out to replace the centurion he looked understandably nervous.

Inzamam-ul-Haq, however, lifted the pressure on him soon after by opting for the part-time spin of Butt and Umar.

Read grew in confidence but Gul came back to cut short his fun by trapping him lbw with the second new ball close to the end.

Bell, playing some attractive shots through the covers, was joined by nightwatchman Matthew Hoggard for the last few deliveries of the day.

But Hoggard was bowled by Gul in the final over for a duck.

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