Panesar and Pietersen put England on top

Updated on May 21, 2007 02:53 PM IST
Their outstanding performances give England a solid platform to win the first test against WI at Lord's.
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HT Image
Reuters | ByJohn Mehaffey, London

Kevin Pietersen unfurled a series of majestic drives on Sunday to give England a solid platform to win the first test against West Indies at Lord's following a record-breaking performance by Monty Panesar.

Left-armer Panesar became the first spinner in test history to win five lbw appeals as he returned his best figures of six for 129 in West Indies' first innings' 437.

Pietersen then lit up the evening session with 109 from 138 balls, his seventh test hundred, to take England to 284 for eight declared, an overall lead of 400 with one day remaining. At the close West Indies were seven without loss.

Panesar's last five wickets were all lbw awarded by Pakistani umpire Asad Rauf after he bowled Devon Smith with his opening delivery of the match on Saturday.

On Sunday, he dismissed Shivnarine Chanderpaul for 74 with the fourth delivery of his first over and he wrapped up in the innings by hitting Corey Collymore (1) in front of the stumps.

Steve Harmison, who conceded 95 runs on Saturday without taking a wicket, dismissed Jerome Taylor caught at point for 21.

Harmison's match so far after his disappointing Ashes series in Australia was summed up when number nine Daren Powell stepped to leg to drive him for four then played a classical cover-drive to the boundary from the next delivery on his way to his highest test score of 36 not out.

Two wides with his opening deliveries in the second innings completed another unhappy day for the Durham fast bowler.

Excellent Collymore

Collymore, taking the new ball instead of Jerome Taylor, gave an excellent exhibition of seam bowling, dismissing acting captain Andrew Strauss (24), Owais Shah (4) and Alastair Cook, who followed up his first innings with 105 with 64.

Cook's fourth test half-century, another composed and intelligent innings, was over-shadowed by Pietersen who injected overdue urgency into the batting.

Pietersen moved down the pitch to drill Collymore over his head. In the over which accounted for Cook he played a majestic cover-drive to the boundary, pulled another four and ran another down to third man.

He took an all-ran four off Chris Gayle's off-spin and drove Dwayne Bravo and Powell for savage fours.

Paul Collingwood kept him company with a lofted four over mid-on and a bottom-handed drive through extra-cover plus some swift running between the wickets.

He received a life on 29 when Powell failed to hold on to a catch at long-leg off Bravo while Pietersen had a reprieve on 94 when a faint edge off Gayle down the leg-side hit Ramdin on the pads.

Collingwood was finally out for 34, caught by Runako Morton at deep backward square-leg from another lofted hook.

Matt Prior, the only England wicketkeeper to score a century in his first test with his 126 not out in the first innings, struck two fours and two consecutive sixes to race to 21 from nine balls before he was caught off Gayle.

West Indies' Australian coach David Moore, whose team have acquitted themselves with honour after just one rain-ruined practice match, was upbeat about his team's chances.

"I think we are in a very good position," he said. "We fought very hard. We are in there fighting and that's the key to winning the game."

Moore said the West Indies' batsmen had been getting as much practice as possible against left-arm spinners in the nets to prepare for Panesar.

Panesar will be a key bowler on Monday with swing bowler Matthew Hoggard unlikely to bowl after a thigh injury which forced him to leave the field on Saturday.

"We're 20 short, we wanted 420," Pietersen said. "But we'll take 400. Four hundred is a pretty big score. I know if I was in the West Indies' camp right now I'd be a bit nervous."

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