India v England: Kevin Pietersen labels Nagpur 'toughest wicket'

England batsman Kevin Pietersen
Fourth Test, Nagpur, day one:
ngland 199-5 (97 overs)
Match scorecard

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."

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."

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."

Listen to match highlights and Jonathan Agnew and Geoffrey Boycott's analysis of the day's play on the Test Match Special podcast.

We are using archive pictures for this Test because several photo agencies, including Getty Images, have been barred from the ground following a dispute with the Board of Control for Cricket in India, while other agencies have withdrawn their photographers in protest.

Top Stories