Pietersen turns back clock to put England in firm charge of 2nd Test
A Kevin Pietersen inspired England have a 181-run lead at the end of day three and at 4/9 look almost certain to gain their first Test victory in five attempts, after the South African born number four brought back memories of the blistering start he made to his international career back in 2005.
Prior to this sensational innings of 151, which he achieved from only 156 balls, the flamboyant batsman has been long overdue a decent knock having struggled this winter in the long form of the game, averaging only 12.5 in Test matches.
The Sri Lankans were not happy with Pietersen’s apparent time-wasting as he allegedly shaped-up for the switch-hit too early, causing the bowler, Tillakaratne Dilshan, to refuse to release the ball, Pietersen was warned but this did little to knock his confidence as he brought up his 20th Test century.
England should now really go on to win the Test and there is much encouragement for spinner Graeme Swann.
Rangana Herath took six wickets in the England innings, and with the pitch wearing and Swann possessing a greater degree of spin than the Sri Lankan, he is the 7/4 favourite to be England’s top wicket taker in the second innings.
There also seemed to be a more uneven bounce coming from the pitch as the day wore on and this should bring the taller bowlers into play, with Steven Finn a 7/2 shot to be the man to cause the Sri Lankan batsmen the most trouble.
Tim Bresnan is yet to lose a Test match in an England jersey the Yorkshire man is 5/1 to be the leading wicket taker here.
The hosts will have to bat well, but a draw is attainable at 2/1 if Mahela Jayawardene can continue his fine vein of form and add to his century in the first innings.
Any overly optimistic Sri Lankan fans can get the seemingly unattainable home win at a very healthy 14/1.