ENGLAND’S mercurial batsman Kevin Pietersen poured praise on his captain Alastair Cook yesterday after the pair stormed their way to record-equalling centuries in the second Test against India.
Cook and Pietersen both hit the 22nd tons of their Test careers, the equal highest number in the team’s history alongside Geoffrey Boycott, Wally Hammond and Colin Cowdrey.
Cook scored 122 before Pietersen achieved a stunning 186 runs, helping England to 413 in their first innings in Mumbai.
“Chef [Cook] was magnificent, and it’s a great feeling to be at the top of the list with him,” said Pietersen.
“Getting hundreds for England, and especially Cookie going to 22 [Test centuries] and then saying to me ‘you haven’t got far to go, then you’re there as well’ – it was a special moment.”
Both men now have the chance to become England’s top Test century scorer of all time – an incredible turnaround for Pietersen, who was frozen out in the summer after a public spat with England chiefs. Yet all is now well in the England camp, according to the reinstated batsman.
“The dressing room is absolutely fantastic,” he said. “We’re sticking together really well, all helping each other out and not letting things get on top of us. If anybody is going through a rough time, everybody else is right behind them. It’s a very united dressing room at the moment, and it will be even more so if we manage to pull off a brilliant victory.”
England resumed play this morning needing only three wickets to end India’s second innings, with the home side leading by just 31 runs. India were at 117-7 at the end of yesterday’s play, after Monty Panesar’s spin ripped through their defence, claiming five of the seven wickets.