BATSMAN Kevin Pietersen believes England’s seam bowlers hold the key to securing their first Test series win in India since 1985.
Spinners Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar had hogged the limelight to help England recover from defeat in the first Test to take a 2-1 overall lead going into the final match in Nagpur.
But Pietersen – out yesterday for 73 on day one of the fourth Test, as the tourists closed on 199-5 – believes the challenge posed by an “unpredictable” pitch can finally bring the best out of James Anderson and Tim Bresnan and help end England’s dismal record in south Asia.
“I think we are in a position of strength having two seamers,” said the Surrey man. “[India seamer] Ishant [Sharma], I found incredibly difficult to play. Scoring was incredibly hard, especially against Ishant – so we hope Bressie [Bresnan] and Jimmy can do us a really good job.
“It’s the toughest wicket I’ve played Test cricket on in terms of trying to play strokes.”
Cook – bidding to become the first England skipper to win in India since David Gower 27 years ago – won the toss and elected to bat, but his team stumbled to 16-2 as Sharma took the Essex man’s scalp for one, plus the wicket of fellow opener Nick Compton (3).
Jonathan Trott steadied the ship with 44, before Pietersen’s virtuoso knock saw him pass a career milestone 15,000 first class runs.