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Pietersen defends shot selection

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Pietersen satisfied despite dismissal

Kevin Pietersen defended the shot which saw him miss out on a 16th Test century on day one of the first Test against the West Indies in Kingston.

Pietersen was caught for 97 attempting to hammer Sulieman Benn for a boundary which would have brought up his ton.

"That's how I play. If it's meant to be, it's meant to be. If you'd given me 97 this morning I'd take it," he said.

"We are 236-5 going into day two on a wearing pitch. I've been criticised for the way I play - that's the way it is."

Pietersen paid tribute to spinner Benn who bowled 33 consecutive overs, also taking the wicket of Paul Collingwood to finish with figures of 2-64.

"He bowled some good balls and it spun and I was playing the line," he said.

"I think Benn got tired and he bowled me a lot of fuller balls and I started hitting a lot of gaps. Sometimes you hit the fielders and sometimes it goes for you and it went for me a little bit."

Pietersen said England had finished the day in a strong position, despite their early struggles which saw them reduced to 94-4 by the time Collingwood was trapped lbw by Benn.

Bowling against Pietersen was good fun and competitive - I like batsmen who come at me and it worked in my favour

Sulieman Benn
Andrew Strauss made just seven and Alistair Cook four, while Ian Bell struggled to 28 off 72 balls.

But Pietersen received patient support from Andrew Flintoff, who ended the day on 43 not out off 138 balls.

The all-rounder put on an unbeaten 56 with Matt Prior (27 not out) to help England to 236-5 at the close.

"The wicket is difficult. Some balls spun and some didn't," said Pietersen.

"You couldn't really play as many shots as you wanted to.

"We are in a pretty good position and with the outfield slow you can push that to 280-300.

"You would not expect the pitch to turn that much on day one of a Test but they have to bat second and fourth on this, so hopefully we can do a good job."

Pietersen hailed the atmosphere in the dressing room and insisted there was no awkwardness despite the controversial circumstances in which he lost the captaincy in January.

"The lads have been fantastic and the dressing-room magnificent and I always knew it would be," he said.

"It (losing the captaincy) was an experience you learn from. All I want to do is play cricket and now I am playing cricket I am very happy."

JONATHAN AGNEW BLOG
BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew
West Indies spinner Benn said he felt that the home side was in the stronger position after the first day of the Test.

"All in all it was pretty good and we are pleased with the way it went," he said.

"They (England) could have a lot more runs but the bowling was pretty decent and we are ahead at the moment."

Benn admitted he did not expect his marathon stint of bowling which saw him deliver 33 of the day's 88 overs.

"I expected to bowl but not for that long or that length of time. Some balls spun and it is still a good pitch," he said.

And he said he had enjoyed the contest against Pietersen, who hit him for two fours and a six before mis-timing a delivery which flew up in the air before being comfortably snaffled by wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin.

"Bowling against him was all good fun and very competitive. I like batsmen who come at me a little bit and it worked in my favour. You have still got to back yourself," he said.

"You will get hit for a couple of runs and some overs are going to go and some are going to be tight. You have to back yourself and keep going. I guess it is what they call Test cricket."

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see also
Pietersen knock steadies England
04 Feb 09 |  England
England in West Indies 2009
29 Dec 08 |  England


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