JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Kevin Pietersen's dismissal rekindles doubts about his commitment

A gift: Kevin Pietersen is bowled for 71 by Mitchell Johnson after attempting an uncultured swipe over cow corner.

A gift: Kevin Pietersen is bowled for 71 by Mitchell Johnson after attempting an uncultured swipe over cow corner. Photo: Pat Scala

Kevin Pietersen bristled at suggestions on Christmas Eve that he no longer had the hunger and pride to play for England. Three days later he showed why those doubts remain.

The controversial batsman was responsible for an innings that not only saved England from a Boxing Day embarrassment but gave his team the upper hand, however, the reckless nature of his dismissal overshadowed the 4.5 hours of application and resilience preceding it.

Boxing Day Test MCG  ,  Tim Bresnan is dismissed by Mitchell Johnson Friday the 27th of December 2013 Click for more photos

England vs Australia: Day 2 of the Ashes

Melbourne hosts another bumper day of record crowd numbers at the MCG for Day 2 of the fourth Ashes Test. Photo: Pat Scala

Pietersen's 71 remains the highest score this match but a century was up for grabs had his diligence not disappeared overnight. At a time when his team needed him to display a "head down, bum up" attitude, Pietersen unleashed a stroke befitting the unnamed international players Graeme Swann said "have no idea how far up their own backsides they are".

It was the type of shot expected of one of his most high-profile supporters, Piers Morgan, rather than a man who sits fourth on England's Test run-scorers' list.

England had been banking on Pietersen to lead the lower order to 300 but instead, the star batsman gifted his wicket to Australia, bowled by Mitchell Johnson attempting an uncultured swipe over cow corner.

Earlier in the over, he had stepped away for another heave at Johnson but was beaten for pace and failed to lay bat on ball. It was the sort of dismissal that had prompted Geoffrey Boycott, whom Pietersen overtook this game, to describe him as a "mug" earlier this week.

England's public reaction was more measured, though James Anderson could not entirely conceal his disappointment at Pietersen's approach.

"I'm not sure, you'll have to ask Kev about that – he obviously felt that was the right way to go this morning," said Anderson, who survived for 40 minutes to make 11.

"The lower order still tried to get stuck in to get us up to as high a score as we could. To get up to 250 now looks like a pretty decent effort. We would have liked a few more runs this morning. We talked about getting up to 300 being a challenging score."

Australia have preyed on Pietersen's considerable ego throughout this series and Friday's was the latest in a string of cavalier get-out shots by the South African-born showman, who raised his bat to the crowd as he left the arena.

Gallingly for England, whose batsmen have endured a horror run this summer, Pietersen has made a decent start in all but one of his seven innings, but failed to cash in.

But apart from his first-innings dismissal in Adelaide, after which he admitted he felt like a "clown", there has been little sign of contrition from Pietersen.

On the other occasions, he said earlier this week, "fortune didn't favour the brave".

Pietersen, however, made it clear he would not deviate from the game plan that has yielded him more than 8000 Test runs and made him one of the best batsmen of his generation, backing his ability to read the state of a game. But on this occasion Pietersen's extravagance was perplexing given his partner Stuart Broad, who has made a Test century and averages 24, is more than capable with the bat.

Pietersen remains committed to his goal of reaching 10,000 Test runs and winning the 2015 World Cup but an average of only 35 this year is not encouraging and suggests a player who has either hit a flat spot in a decorated career or is on the wane.

Despite his lean series, Pietersen is England's leading run-scorer and still worthy of a place in the team.

His departure was part of another stunning England collapse, in which the visitors lost their final four wickets for 25 runs on the second day.

But Pietersen's innings has proven invaluable in such a low-scoring game. Of the 58 occasions he has passed 50, only four times has he scored at a slower rate.

 

5 comments so far

  • KP - has always, apart from maybe 3 innings against Australia in 6 Ashes series been dependably unreliable for England.

    Commenter
    MW
    Date and time
    December 27, 2013, 9:37PM
    • What a joke. The England tail have batted like a quartet of Chris Martins all series, and Pietersen is a batsman who can score quickly. He tries to so so, and gets pilloried for it. And you know with almost 100 per cent certainty that if he blocked everything out while
      Bresnan, Broad, Anderson and Panesar fell cheaply, he'd be bagged in this publication and others for not having a go/batting for his average etc.

      For goodness sake, just give the bloke a moment's peace

      Commenter
      Phat
      Date and time
      December 28, 2013, 9:45AM
      • Why is when someone like Peterson does a stupidly rash shot and gets out, his commitment is under question and when Warner does an equally stupid shot he just being himself? The same goes with commentary team bemoaning the slow English run rate and then sticking up for the home team for their slow run rate, or is this just cricket?

        Commenter
        Taffy
        Location
        Ingleburn
        Date and time
        December 28, 2013, 4:21PM
        • So does today's report question the commitment of Ian Bell or some if the others...or is the criticism only allowed to be directed at KP?
          He one of the few match winners or x factors in this current English side, playing the two Ashes series this year with a dodgy knee as the team needed him.

          Commenter
          Equality
          Date and time
          December 29, 2013, 12:11PM
          • Totally agree with people's comments on this story rather than the story itself. The last four wickets have averaged 20 runs in total this series. If he had put Mitch Johnson into the stands, who knows what it would have done for his confidence, his teams momentum and Johnson's performance. He has occupied the crease and scored runs consistently this tour and has suffered from being in a team of misfiring muppets. He still has a good few years left in him. Andy Flower and Alastair Cook need to take the blame for their consistently negative approach throughout the series. It is what has set the tone and has brought them undone. Finn should've played in Perth and they should've played Bell at number three from the first test and given him time in the middle to dominate. But even 4-0 down I guarantee they will change nothing.

            Commenter
            Jimmy
            Date and time
            December 29, 2013, 11:41PM

            Make a comment

            You are logged in as [Logout]

            All information entered below may be published.

            Error: Please enter your screen name.

            Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

            Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

            Error: Please enter your comment.

            Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

            Post to

            You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

            Thank you

            Your comment has been submitted for approval.

            Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

            Related Coverage

            Australia find themselves up against it at the MCG

            Australia have been dealt a dose of their own medicine.

            England turn tables as batsmen choke

            England have finally made Australia bleed.

            Ashes 2013: Kerry O'Keeffe to quit commentary

            Kerry O'Keeffe has announced he is retiring from cricket commentary after 13 years with the ABC.

            Farewell Jacques Kallis and Graeme Swann, and thanks for the memories

            Death, as the Two Ronnies said, can be fatal. And retirement can be so very final. With Jacques Kallis and Graeme Swann quitting within two days, following the departures this year of Sachin Tendulkar and Mike Hussey, Test cricket has lost star power and personality.

            Ashes 2013: Game swings Jimmy Anderson's way

            Reverse swing and seam movement re-entered the Ashes series in Melbourne, and England's best exponents have accepted them gratefully. Without old-ball curve and cut, James Anderson has moped about the country looking as likely to trip over his bottom lip as take a wicket, but with the assistance of an abrasive MCG wicket on Friday he had wickets, catches and, belatedly, a smile.

            Ashes 2013: Mitchell Johnson closes on bowling greats for damage done to old enemy

            Mitchell Johnson is threatening to cap his exhilarating international comeback by joining one of the Ashes' most exclusive clubs.

            Collapse puts Michael Clarke's call in spotlight again

            The rationale for captains' inclination to bat first in Tests was evident at the MCG on Friday, when even a seemingly mediocre total by England was enough to unsettle the Australian batsmen.

            Marcus North puts up hand for trip to South Africa

            Marcus North has not given up hope of being selected for Australia's tour of South Africa in February after hitting a rich vein of form in the first half of the Sheffield Shield season.

            Fans in a blister as KP soaks up the rays

            LYING poolside sans shirt, Kevin Pietersen is without a care in the world.

            Boxing Day Test MCG  ,  Mitchell Johnson is congratulated  after claiming his 5th wicket England vs Australia: Day 2 of the Ashes

            Melbourne hosts another bumper day of record crowd numbers at the MCG for Day 2 of the fourth Ashes Test.