Pietersen reflects on England's first day performance
Kevin Pietersen defended his dismissal after top-scoring for England with 69 of their 336-7 against Australia on the opening day of the Ashes in Cardiff.
Pietersen tried to sweep a ball from Nathan Hauritz which was well wide of off-stump and told BBC Sport: "Maybe I missed a chance to get a big hundred.
"But if my head hadn't been in the way I would probably have got away with it.
"It was a shot I'd played successfully throughout my innings, though maybe with hindsight I could have left it."
And he praised the generally accurate bowling of Hauritz: "It was hard to hit him down the ground for straight sixes, he bowled well today."
Pietersen added he thought England had to accept their total despite losing two wickets in the last four overs.
"I think if you look at the first day of previous Ashes series, we would take that, definitely," he said.
"Being greedy, you would maybe say 'five down'. But with a wicket that is turning, I will take that."
Soon after Paul Collingwood had been dismissed for 64, Pietersen also fell, England going from 228-3 to 241-5. Pietersen's dismissal looked avoidable as he tried to sweep a ball from Hauritz that was well wide of off-stump.
Pietersen 'irresponsible' - Kasprowicz
Pietersen added: "I am going to say we're pretty happy because in the last two series we have been dominated by Australia after the opening day of the Ashes and they've got to bat last."
More immediately, he said England were targeting a total of about 400 when they resume their innings on Thursday. "We'll work towards 350, then 360, work up in 10s and see how close we can get to 400."
Pietersen praised wicketkeeper Matt Prior, who blasted 56 from 62 balls late in the day. "That is what we want from him, an Adam Gilchrist-like innings. It was absolutely brilliant from him," he said.
Hauritz, who played mostly for the New South Wales second XI last season, has taken some flak in the British media - and his returns in Australia's two warm-up matches did not inspire much confidence.
But Australia coach Tim Nielsen was pleased with his return of 1-67.
"I didn't think the wicket offered him much, but he drew a loose shot out of Pietersen to get his wicket which was great. He probably had a few doubts about himself but he was able to stand up there and challenge the players.
"His 19 overs were a good support for the quicks, which is what we needed on the first day of a Test match."
Day two crucial for Aussies - Nielsen
As for day two, Nielsen added: "It's important not to let them get away, not get another hundred, and limit them to 360. Then the challenge will be willing to bat for a long time and make a big score."
Worryingly for England, Pietersen experienced discomfort in his right calf, having been plagued by Achilles trouble this summer.
But he did not feel the need to seek treatment during his three hours at the crease.
"People obviously saw me limping a little bit but that was because I've just started my running programme and getting back to full fitness," he said.
"I have been on three runs now and it's just a bit of stiffness in the bottom of my legs. I just have to work my way through that, get myself right and I'm really positive about the way things are going."
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.