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Pietersen completes third test century

Written by: Staff

LONDON, May 12 (Reuters) Kevin Pietersen completed his first century at Lord's today in the arena where he made such a memorable debut for England only 10 months ago.

Pietersen, 54 not out overnight after the first day of the first test against Sri Lanka, brought up his third test hundred half an hour before lunch as England piled on the runs during another warm, sunny morning to reach lunch at 432 for four.

Fittingly for a man who announced his presence in the test arena by taking the attack to Australia's Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath, Pietersen reached his landmark with a four off Sri Lanka's premier bowler Muttiah Muralitharan.

He was ably abetted by Paul Collingwood (31 not out) who shared an unbeaten fifth-wicket partnership of 103 with no respite in sight for the suffering Sri Lanka bowlers.

Nightwatchman Matthew Hoggard was the only wicket to fall in the morning session after England resumed at 318 for three when he was bowled for seven playing over a full-length delivery from Chaminda Vaas.

Collingwood got off the mark with an involuntary four through slips off Vaas then took another boundary off the left-arm paceman with a more authentic shot off the back foot through the covers.

Muralitharan, the only bowler to exert any sort of control with two of Sri Lanka's three wickets on Thursday, was introduced into the attack after 54 minutes at the Pavilion End and started with a maiden to a thoughtful Collingwood.

Farveez Maharoof, bowling with more control from the Nursery End after his wayward efforts on Thursday, kept Pietersen relatively quiet with Upul Tharanga intercepting a series of crisp drives at cover.

He was not going to be kept quiet for long, however, and although Muralitharan bowled with seven men on the leg side Pietersen solved that particular problem by sweeping the ball over them all into the crowd to bring up the 50 partnership.

Pietersen reached his century by gliding Muralitharan to the boundary and celebrated by taking off his helmet and raising his bat in acknowledgment of the applause to each corner of the ground.

A pull for a single took him past 1,000 runs in test cricket and at the interval he had reached 120 and was primed for a full-blooded afternoon assault.

Reuters DH RN1830

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