Kevin Pietersen double century punishes India at Lord's
First Test, Lord's (day two, close):
England 474-8 dec v India 17-0
Kevin Pietersen scored a brilliant double hundred as England took advantage of the absence of India seamer Zaheer Khan to assume a dominant position after two days of the first Test at Lord's.
Despite struggling to find his characteristic fluency, and two reprieves from the third umpire, Pietersen ground his way to a century off 216 balls - but his second ton was a different story, taking just 110 balls as he became the fourth fastest England batsman to pass 6,000 Test runs.
The 31-year-old shared in century partnerships with Ian Bell (45) and Matt Prior (71) and added a quickfire 49 in four overs with Graeme Swann as England raised the tempo in the final hour of play before declaring on 474-8.
It left India openers Gautam Gambhir and Abhinav Mukund a tricky final half hour, but they survived six overs to reach 17-0.
The only bright spot on a difficult day for the tourists was the performance of seamer Praveen Kumar, who recorded figures of 5-106 from 40.3 overs.
“Pietersen had to work for his runs, it was a workmanlike innings until he got to 80 or 90 and then started to expand his repertoire. He's a talented player, a thrilling one, and by the time he got to 150 he was smashing it to all parts of Lord's”
The 24-year-old was forced to spearhead the India attack after the tourists confirmed that Zaheer Khan would be unable to bowl until the second innings at the earliest because of a hamstring problem.
Buoyed by that news, England started the day on 127-2, intent on posting an imposing first innings score.
Jonathan Trott reached 70 before playing across the line to a skidding delivery from Kumar and being trapped leg before wicket.
Then came one of the talking points of the day as Pietersen clipped Kumar off his legs and was caught low by Rahul Dravid at leg slip. Umpire Billy Bowden raised the finger but Pietersen referred the decision to the television official, who gave him the benefit of the doubt because replays appeared to show the ball brushing the ground.
Soon after lunch, Mahendra Singh Dhoni - briefly handing wicket-keeping duties to Rahul Dravid to send down eight overs of medium pace - thought he had removed Pietersen caught behind, but the decision was rightly overturned on review.
Bell, meanwhile, picked up where he left off in the Sri Lanka series, unfurling his full range of elegant cuts, sweeps and drives.
Pietersen reached his 18th Test hundred with a straight four off Ishant Sharma, but soon afterwards England were on the back foot as Bell and Eoin Morgan fell in quick succession, both caught behind off Kumar.
With Pietersen still battling with his game, Prior took on the role of aggressor in compiling a quickfire half-century, before Kumar returned to dismiss him and Stuart Broad with successive balls.
Having passed 150 for the seventh time in Tests, Pietersen finally broke the shackles, thrilling the crowd with some sensational hitting to advance to 202 in just 25 more balls.
That was the cue for Andrew Strauss to declare, but with James Anderson and Chris Tremlett struggling to find a consistent line, India reached stumps with all 10 wickets intact.