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Pietersen double century keeps England on top

cricket Updated: Dec 05, 2010 19:57 IST

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Kevin Pietersen replaced Alastair Cook as Australia's tormentor with a majestic double century as England took a commanding first innings lead before rain curtailed the third day of the second Ashes Test on Sunday.

The 30-year-old Pietersen looked hungry for more on 213 not out alongside Ian Bell on 41 as England moved to 551-4 and a lead of 306 when the rain came down at tea break and prevented any further play.

England declared on 551 in the corresponding Test four years ago and incredibly lost by six wickets but Australia, who made 245 in their first innings, can hope for a draw at best in this contest.

Pietersen, despite a hamstring problem, reached the second double century of his career with a sprinted single off spinner Xavier Doherty before dropping to one knee and pumping his fist as England's "Barmy Army" of supporters gave him a huge ovation.

Shane Watson trapped Paul Collingwood lbw for 42 three overs after lunch but otherwise the third day was another two hours of hard labour with scant reward for the Australian bowlers.

"They're toiling away, they're doing their best, there's not much in the track," Australia skipper Ricky Ponting told reporters.

"We've just got to keep hanging in there and see if we can make some breakthroughs, but I think to tell the truth now most of the work for the rest of the game's going to be done with our batting."

Fortunately for the hosts, the temperatures were lower than the 37 degrees Celsius they fielded in on Saturday and they did manage to finally remove Cook in the morning for 148.

The left-hander nicked an inside edge to Brad Haddin off the bowling of local quick Ryan Harris to bring an end to 17 1/2 hours of unbeaten batting since he was dismissed in the first innings of the first Test.

While Cook would not pretend to be a great technical batsman, even the locals who booed Pietersen onto the pitch on Saturday could not deny the quality of his innings.

Pietersen secured his first Test century in 18 test matches going back to March last year in the morning, celebrating the single off Harris with a roar that rang around the ground and a punch of the air.

He relaxed a little after that and was soon peppering boundaries around the Adelaide Oval, where he scored 158 in the corresponding Test four years ago. His double century came off just 283 balls and included 29 fours and one six.

Pietersen had a minor scare when he was on 91 and Australia requested a review of a refused lbw appeal but the television pictures showed Harris's delivery had hit his pad outside the line of the wickets.

"This is as big as it gets in the game and we want to do the best that we can to get out of this test match the best way possible," Ponting added.

"Its going to be hard for us to win from here but its important that we don't give the test match up."