The Ashes: Kevin Pietersen century magnificent, says Sir Ian Botham
Sir Ian Botham says Kevin Pietersen's maturity shone through as he scored his 23rd Test century.
Last Updated: 03/08/13 8:08pm
Pietersen's 113 off 206 balls, which featured 12 fours and two sixes, helped the home side to 294-7 in reply to Australia's first inning 527-7 declared. Read our match report here.
England, 233 behind, still require another 34 runs to avoid the follow-on but Sky Cricket pundit Botham said that Pietersen's 23rd Test hundred has given his side every chance of securing the draw they need to retain the Ashes.
"Pietersen played magnificently," he said. "He was controlled and aggressive when required. He went two-and-a-quarter hours without a boundary after a flurry of sixes; he set his stall out to play a big innings.
"As he said in his interview after the game, it was a pretty good wicket to bat on but you had to get yourself in and he did just that.
"Pietersen was always going to take the spinner [Nathan Lyon] on and when he did he suddenly gave Michael Clarke a problem. Does he keep the spinner going? If he doesn't, then there's more work for the seamers.
"England want to put overs into these bowlers legs and then the 'step-and-fetch-its' [spinners] don't pose a problem.
"I honestly feel that is how Kevin Pietersen sees it. He thinks 'let's give them a headache' because Lyon can't tie up an end like Graeme Swann has done on many occasions for England so you can rotate the seamers at the other end. You can't do that if your spinner is getting knocked out of the ground."
Pietersen was given a reprieve on 62 when Australia failed to review an lbw shout off Shane Watson's bowling that was given not out - the replays showing that the decision would have been reversed on appeal.
Watson was visibly aggrieved after skipper Michael Clarke opted not to review following discussions with wicketkeeper Brad Haddin and Botham felt the bowler had every right to feel hard done by.
"I said at the time 'I think that's really, really close' and because it is Pietersen the umpire will probably think that he's come down quite a long way," he reflected. "That would have put the umpire off.
"But considering that it was Pietersen and the way that partnership with Bell was going, I would have risked the review because it looked very close.
"It was a tough one but Michael Clarke will be frustrated; that said Australia are still in a very good position."
Pietersen went on to put on 115 for England's fifth wicket with Ian Bell, who continued his fine run of form with the bat by striking a composed 60 off 112 balls before he was bowled by one that nipped back from Ryan Harris (2-50).
"That was a good 'un - that's one for the bowler; it wasn't a mistake by the batsman," said Botham.
"The length was good; Bell doesn't know whether to come forward or go back, so he's trapped on the crease and then there's a little bit of movement - and that's all you need - to defeat the batsman.
"It was good bowling. I've been impressed with Peter Siddle (2-53) and Harris in particular, for Australia. I think they've been exceptional.
"Ok, Mitchell Starc (3-75) got a couple of important wickets for Australia but Harris and Siddle are the engine room."
Watch day four of the third Ashes Test between England and Australia from 10am on Sunday on Sky Sports Ashes and catch every ball on the Ashes Events Centre, online, on iPad and on mobile.