India v England: Kevin Pietersen labels Nagpur 'toughest wicket'
Fourth Test, Nagpur, day one:
ngland 199-5 (97 overs)
Kevin Pietersen has said the Nagpur wicket was "the toughest" he has played a Test on and he has no idea how to gauge England's opening-day progress.
Pietersen, 32, was made to fight for each of his 73 runs as India restricted his side to 199-5 in the fourth Test.
"It's the toughest wicket I've played Test cricket on in terms of trying to play strokes," the batsman stated.
"But what the wicket's going to do, I haven't got a clue - it looks similar now to what it did when we started."
"Not once during the build-up to the game did I see the headline 'Joe Root must play', but the way he batted vindicated the decision to hand him his first Test cap."
Despite winning the toss, England slumped to 139-5 on a slow and low wicket which saw captain Alastair Cook out for lbw on 1 following his heroics in the third Test.
Similarly low scores were recorded by Nick Compton and Ian Bell, but measured knocks by Pietersen and Jonathan Trott laid the platform for a stoic unbroken 60-run partnership from wicketkeeper Matt Prior and Test debutant Joe Root.
Sheffield-born Root impressed in particular as his careful shot selection saw him to an unbeaten 31 from 110 balls at stumps in the face of the host's four-man spin attack.
"Joe was brilliant," said Pietersen. "He's his own man; he played some lovely cricket shots and has a good head on his shoulders.
"Never judge anybody after a couple of hours batting for England, but he's shown signs of what could be a very good Test career. He didn't need too much help, he came in there, and was scoring freely.
"He's a good little player and a lovely man as well. He's a good human being."
- Kevin Pietersen passed 15,000 first class runs in his innings of 73
- He also become the fifth man to reach 1,000 Test runs in 2012
- He scored his 29th Test half-century
Although India selected a spin-heavy bowling line-up, the early wickets of Cook and Compton were taken by fast bowler Ishant Sharma. Pietersen believed the 24-year-old Sharma's success was a good sign for England, who boast Tim Bresnan and James Anderson in their side.
"I think we are in a position of strength... Having two seamers," the Surrey man said. "Ishant, I found incredibly difficult to play today.
"All I know is that scoring was incredibly hard, especially against Ishant - so we hope 'Bressie' [Tim Bresnan] and Jimmy [Anderson] can do us a really good job."