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Pietersen backs England to win with spin

cricket Updated: Jul 09, 2009 12:28 IST

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Kevin Pietersen was excited by the prospect of England's spinners playing a major role in the first Ashes Test after seeing the Sophia Gardens pitch take turn in Cardiff on yesterday's first day of the series.

England at stumps were 336 for seven after a day of fluctuating fortunes.

Pietersen, who top-scored with 69, fell shortly before the close to off-spinner Nathan Hauritz although his dismissal owed more to his mistiming an extravagant sweep shot than cunning deception by the bowler.

But, with England fielding two specialist slow bowlers in Graeme Swann and left-armer Monty Panesar, Pietersen was encouraged by the way Hauritz had turned the ball.

"The promising thing is that Nathan Hauritz is spinning it off straight and on day one and we've got two spinners," Pietersen told reporters.

Australia ended the first day of the previous two Ashes series on top with now retired quick Glenn McGrath running through England's top order at Lord's before home batsmen piled on the runs at Brisbane in 2006/07.

But in Cardiff honours were even after fast bowler Peter Siddle took two late wickets to dismiss all-rounder Andrew Flintoff (37) and wicket-keeper Matt Prior (56) whose stand of 86, which came in just 95 balls, was threatening to take the game away from Australia.