Kevin Pietersen says he is proud of his unbeaten double hundred that gave England the upperhand in the ongoing first cricket Test against India as he had never worked this hard for runs in his career.
"It's something to be proud of, definitely. There's been some fairly complimentary thing being said to me in the dressing room. I've never had to work harder," Pietersen, who made an unbeaten 202 in England's 474 declared, said after the second day's play on Friday.
"With the conditions I batted in, and having to face MS Dhoni for half an hour as well, I reckon it's right up there with the hundreds I've scored. They bowled really well in swinging conditions and the pitch was seaming as well. I was missing balls by a couple of inches on occasions... it was real hard graft," he added.
About the course of the match, he expects the ball to seam and swing to put Indians in a spot of bother.
"History tells us that getting result at the Lord's is quite difficult. But the wicket we have at the moment is aiding seam and swing and we all know swing is alien to Indian batting," Pietersen stated.
Emboldened with his success, Pietersen revealed his ambition to enter the 10,000 Test runs club now that he has completed 6,000 runs.
"I would love to have (10,000 runs). I love to set goal for myself and hopefully I would reach there if I bat this way."
This is Pietersen's 18th century in his 75th Test but quite uncharacteristically, he never have had to graft in the manner he has done at Lord's over the last two days.
"The conditions were very difficult and they bowled very well. Sometimes you were playing and missing by couple of inches. It was a real hard graft. It made you wonder if India were batting on Friday where they must have been," Pietersen said.
Pietersen also gave credit to Alastair Cook, Andrew Strauss and Jonathan Trott for consuming a lot of overs.
"Credit to the first three batsmen (deserve credit) for they ate up a lot of balls. Trott was magnificent again and Strauss batted for 80 balls which was great under the circumstances.
"When it's seaming and swinging you try to get overs in the other bowlers. They did a great job for men like Prior and Swann to take advantage of what's been created a day before. Bell also batted beautifully."
Pietersen had two moments of anxiety -- the first, when he was on 49 and Rahul Dravid appeared to have caught a chance at leg slip before replays ruled it in his favour.
The second moment arrived when he was on 73 and umpire Billy Bowden gave him out caught behind off Dhoni only for the Decision Review System (DRS) to come to his aid.
"I was on 49 when Rahul used the technology. He wasn't sure (so he did it). He is a fantastic servant of the game, a true Indian legend. I have played with him in IPL for 2-3 years and there is no way he would have claimed a catch when he knew it wasn't out.
"As for the second chance, I had to review it. I can't get out to Dhoni. Having said so it was difficult to see him through. He was moving it both ways and it was nipping around. He is a talented man."
Another Indian for whom Pietersen has only admiration and affection is Praveen Kumar, who grabbed his maiden five-wicket haul in Tests.
"I captained him for a year in the IPL. He is fantastic and a very skillful bowler. If there is anyone in the Indian team, I would be happy to have got five wickets, it would be PK. He is a fantastic guy," Pietersen said.
Pietersen revealed that England had decided in advance to give Indians half an hour of batting on Friday evening.
"We wanted to bowl for half an hour at Indians. I kept passing messages to Strauss that if he really wanted to pull us out (declare) now, there are no dramas. My 200 wasn't important—I had scored quite a few runs already. Team is more important and not a 200 in a Test match."
Pietersen took a dig at his critics who have been terming his form as none too great in recent times.
"It's been only six matches that I haven't scored a century. I got a 85 against Sri Lanka in 100 balls.
"You do go through good patches and bad patches. As long as you are true to yourself and continue to do hard work, you have to be rewarded."
Pietersen returned to speak about Sachin Tendulkar around whom there is a huge expectation to get his 100th international century.
"There are a lot of great cricketers who haven't done well at Lord's — Warne, Ponting for example. We would try and make sure Sachin doesn't get a hundred."
He also didn't find fault with Harbhajan Singh's bowling who went wicketless but conceded over 150 runs in England innings.
"Harbhajan bowled very well. Harbhajan on that wicket which was friendly to seamers, tied it down. On occasions, even I found it very hard to score. I don't think he bowled badly," he concluded.