Never had to work as hard in a Test match : Pietersen


London: Kevin Pietersen, after his unbeaten knock of 202 against India, said “he never had to work as hard in a Test match” with opening day conditions making it difficult to bat.

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The 31-year-old batted with patience to strike his first century on home soil Friday since August 2008 as England declared on 474-8 in the first cricket Test.

Pietersen admitted struggling with the conditions Thursday with his first 50 being the slowest of his international career.

“Last summer was real tough with Pakistan’s (Mohammad) Asif and (Mohammad) Amir,” Pietersen said.

“But Thursday’s conditions were some of the hardest I’ve ever batted in.

“I have never had to work as hard in a Test match. They bowled really well in swinging conditions, and on the first day we were put in on a wicket that was seaming.”

The ball swung both ways at the Lord’s but Pietersen dug in his heels to stay at the crease and later said it was a “complete innings” by him.

“You have to go through the gears and it was just a complete innings where I got myself in and played straight and was lucky to miss a few balls that were really well bowled,” he said.

Pietersen was lucky to survive on 49 when Rahul Dravid took a catch at leg slip but the umpires reverted to the television umpire who could not confirm that the ball had carried.

“Rahul Dravid is a fantastic servant of the game,” said Pietersen. “There is no way he would have claimed that catch if he hadn’t thought he had caught it. But when you have technology you use technology.”

Pietersen admitted having a hard time playing Indian skipper and wicket-keeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, and he needed a review again to survive after umpire Billy Bowden ruled him caught behind.

“I had to review that,” Pietersen said. “I can’t get out to Dhoni. Playing against Dhoni was probably the hardest part of the innings. He is just a very talented man.”

Pietersen was returning to the game after a holiday in Spain and said he was feeling fresh and raring to go.

“It was nice to get away from here and come back fresh and work on my fitness and come here mentally fresh and raring to go,” he said.

“There’s some nice compliments floating around the dressing room at the moment over that innings and I’d put it somewhere near the top of all my centuries. ”

India will resume on 17 without loss and and Pietersen warned that if the ball continued to move sideways, it can put the pressure on the famed Indian batting line-up.

“It’s difficult to say [if England will win], history says it’s quite difficult to win Test matches at Lord’s,” he said.

“But the wicket is still offering a lot to the seamers. It’s swinging and, if it’s swinging, that is alien to Indian batsmen.

“Having been put in and scored 474, we’re in a pretty good position. It would have been interesting if India had batted yesterday and where we’d have been.”