Kevin Pietersen: His top five moments in an England shirt

The release of Kevin Pietersen's autobiography is likely to end any faint hopes of a return to international cricket.
The release of Kevin Pietersen's autobiography is likely to end any faint hopes of a return to international cricket.
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With every new controversy, Kevin Pietersen's international career recedes that little bit further into history and the release of his much anticipated autobiography may have finally ended any faint hopes of an England recall.  Snappily titled, KP The Autobiography, the fall out has already started but it's easy to forget that the international stage has lost one of its greatest players. Matt Harris picks out five of Pietersen's best performances in an England shirt...

"After an unhappy spell as captain under Peter Moores, Pietersen looked happy and refreshed as he became part of the first England side to win an Ashes series in Australia for 24 years."

1. The Oval 2005: Ashes regained

After serving his qualification period, Kevin Pietersen's England career started where it began - in controversy. Three ODI centuries against South Africa earlier in the season had forced the selectors' hand but his test match inclusion led to the absence and eventual retirement of the popular Graham Thorpe.

KP began with two half centuries at Lord's as England lost the first game of the 2005 Ashes series but a memorable summer was coming to a close with the hosts 2-1 up and heading to the Oval. At 67 for three and just 35 runs ahead on second innings, it seemed as though an extended run of 18 years without the Urn was to be further prolonged until Pietersen came to the crease. Some 187 balls and 158 runs later, the South African born batsman had played the first of his great international innings, the highlight of which came as he hooked Brett Lee into the stands. A phenomenon had arrived.


2. Adelaide 2010: A series win in Australia

After an unhappy spell as captain under Peter Moores, Pietersen looked happy and refreshed as he became part of the first England side to win an Ashes series in Australia for 24 years. Alastair Cook, Andrew Strauss and Jonathan Trott were scoring heavily as a top three however and while KP's contribution to the overall series is largely forgotten, a brilliant 227 in the second test at Adelaide provided some inspiration for the 3-1 overall victory.

The knock proved that Pietersen could be patient when necessary and in a marathon seven-hour effort, he made 34 boundaries including just one six. That innings, along with 148 from Cook, set up a huge win and the tourists were on their way.

3. KP the bowler

Pietersen's off spin has been best described as 'occasional' while even those paid to commentate on the game have referred to it as 'filthy'. Bare stats show a total haul of 10 Test victims at an average of 88.60 but against South Africa in 2012, his rarely used bowling almost forced an unlikely England victory.

The selectors had omitted Graeme Swann for the Second test at Headingley and immediately the decision looked to be a poor one. With no variation in a four-man seam attack, KP took one for 26 as an Alviro Petersen inspired South Africa rattled up 419 in their first innings.

With Imran Tahir looking threatening for the tourists, Pietersen saw more of the ball and produced a test best of 3-52 in the second innings to give the hosts an outside chance of a win. He was expensive - those 52 runs came off just nine overs - but there was genuine turn and bounce in a threatening spell. In 2010-11, KP's much maligned spin proved useful once again as he removed Michael Clarke.

4. Headingley 2012: Before the fall out

Those Test best bowling figures came after Pietersen had provided one of his most memorable innings. When he arrived at the crease, England were struggling in the face of the World's best bowling attack - Steyn and Morkel at their peak - aided by a very helpful Leeds surface.

KP's method was to take them apart which he did most effectively, making 149 and putting on 147 for the fifth wicket with James Taylor who made just 34. Those runs, together with a useful display with the ball earned Pietersen another Man of the Match display but it was ruined by a stunningly excruciating press conference which led to 'Text Gate' and an exclusion from the final test at Lord's.

5. Mumbai 2012: Saving the best until last

Another barren spell in a foreign land - England hadn't won in India since 1984 - was put to rest as a stunning effort from KP helped England to level this series in Mumbai. James Anderson took a wicket with the second ball of the match but that was the solitary success for the seamers as a spinners' paradise led to big hauls for Panesar, Swann and Pragyan Ojha.

In total there were three outstanding centuries in a difficult test for the batsman but Pietersen's 186 transcended his best efforts and climbed to another level of brilliance. Once again he dominated a partnership - this time with Captain Cook and while his incredible effort helped England to a 10-wicket win, it was sadly one of the last occasions when his genius was seen on the international stage.


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