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Page last updated at 11:38 GMT, Friday, 12 March 2010

Kevin Pietersen aided by Rahul Dravid advice

Kevin Pietersen
Pietersen was out bowled for 99 but it was a welcome return to form

Kevin Pietersen paid tribute to India batsman Rahul Dravid after returning to form with a knock of 99 on day one of England's first Test in Bangladesh.

The batsman has only one century since 2008 and has struggled in South Africa and the warm-up games in Bangladesh.

But he said a phone call with Dravid this week has helped turn his form around as England ended play on 374-3.

"I spoke with Rahul and his advice was spectacular. I'd have taken a 99 before play, so today was special," he said.

"I have worked so hard, especially this week, and I have genuinely absolutely loved it.

"I suppose I felt under pressure in terms of the way I play left-arm spin because it's troubled me the last few weeks. I knew I had to work it out - the top three bowlers in the world are left-armers and with umpires happy to give you out lbw on the front foot now I've had to adjust things.

"I've had plenty of time to speak to (England team director) Andy Flower - a great player of spin - in the nets and he's helped. And speaking to Rahul, another amazing player of spin, was a huge help.

"I've played with Rahul for (IPL outfit) Bangalore, I've played a lot of Test match cricket against him and in two weeks I'll be spending a month with him (at the IPL).

"It's great to spend time speaking to people like that and he's helped a heck of a lot. Little things like where my hands were, where I put my feet, what areas I wanted to hit into. He gave me a couple of tips he uses and it really worked out great.

"I've made a slight adjustment, put hours in in the nets and sweated more than I've sweated through my entire career and that's paid off.

"Sometimes you have to work on your game harder than at other times and that hard work paid off today - 99 is better than nought," he added on BBC Radio 5 live.

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While his innings was a welcome return to something like his best for Pietersen, it was overshadowed by opener Alastair Cook's imperious 158 not out on his debut as England Test captain.

The left-hander struck 14 fours and two sixes in his 244-ball innings as he batted through the day to become the fifth Englishman to reach three figures in his first Test outing as captain, with Pietersen the fourth.

"Getting a hundred on your first day as Test captain is something dreams are made of," he said.

"To have batted all day was fantastic. It's always the thing on these surfaces - maintain concentration, try to maintain your tempo, and dig in.

"I've certainly got my sights set on a big innings, yes. If I can get back in on the second morning and keep doing the things I did today, hopefully I can go on to a really big one."

England were certainly helped by a below-par performance from the home bowlers, while opposing captain Shakib Al Hasan's decision to field first at the toss in no little way handed Cook's side the initiative.

We've probably put ourselves out of the game. I don't think two teams can win the game from here.

Bangladesh coach Jamie Siddons

"I was surprised at the toss and yes I would have batted," admitted Cook. "It looks a good pitch, but then maybe they know something we don't."

And Bangladesh coach Jamie Siddons conceded the decision to field first was "in hindsight, a bad decision".

"We thought we knew a bit about the Chittagong wicket," he said. "We thought that it would spin on day one and get flatter and flatter like it has in the past, but for some unknown reason it didn't turn.

"We've probably put ourselves out of the game. I don't think two teams can win the game from here.

"We are pretty much out of the game, unless we bowl terrifically in the morning and even then we have to bat the house down."



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see also
Cook and Pietersen dominate Test
12 Mar 10 |  England
Onions out of Bangladesh series
11 Mar 10 |  England
Flower backs Pietersen to shine
18 Jan 10 |  England
Live cricket on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Cricket
England in UAE & Bangladesh 2010
23 Feb 10 |  Cricket


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