Kevin Pietersen: We look back at five of his best Test innings
Two years on from his retirement, we look back on some of the best Test innings of one of England's most remarkable batsmen
Last Updated: 17/03/20 12:20pm
On March 17, 2018, one of England’s most talented – and controversial – batsmen announced his retirement from cricket.
Kevin Pietersen's international career spanned just over nine years and saw him play 277 times for England, including 104 Test matches.
There was rarely a dull moment in that time and for every contentious incident, there were countless extraordinary innings. With 23 Test hundreds and nine ODI centuries to his name, no matter what you thought of Pietersen the man, no one could deny the genius of the batsman.
We recall five of KP's best Test innings...
The Oval, vs Australia, September 2005 - 158, match drawn
The only starting point, and the moment when Pietersen won over (most of) his adopted nation. Just six runs separated the teams, and the series, on first innings and at 126-5 it seemed England's dream of an overdue Ashes success might just unravel again. Pietersen had other ideas. He needed some luck along the way, but was a force of nature that day against a world-class and highly-experienced attack.
Lord's, vs India, July 2011 - 202 not out, England won by 196 runs
The 2,000th Test match was thought sure to be Sachin Tendulkar's last at Lord's, and in many minds was supposed to be all about the Little Master. Pietersen's first hundred runs were scratchy, the rest sublime. Collaterally, they were the difference between the two sides in a match which set the tone for a 4-0 series success as England dethroned India to go to the top of the world rankings for the first time.
Colombo, vs Sri Lanka, April 2012 - 151, England won by eight wickets
Pietersen had begun his most turbulent year with a miserable run of scores, along with most of his team-mates, in a 3-0 drubbing against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates. Here, in searing and stamina-sapping heat, he dominated the Sri Lankans on their home turf to lead England to a series-levelling and face-saving victory.
Headingley, vs South Africa, August 2012 - 149, match drawn
The scene of Pietersen's most outrageous extremes. In the middle, he was breathtaking as he took apart Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel to help give England fleeting hope of victory in a rain-affected match against the world's new best team. Afterwards, he held a stunningly inept press conference in which - intent apparently on saying nothing - he did the opposite, and kickstarted a crisis of man-management for England.
Mumbai, vs India, November 2012 - 186, England won by 10 wickets
The best of the lot, surely. England's hopes of a first series win in India since the mid-1980s appeared forlorn after chastening defeat in Ahmedabad. But on a spinners' paradise at the Wankhede Stadium - James Anderson's wicket with the second ball of the match was the only success for the seamers - Pietersen's batting bordered on the supernatural. He dominated a stand of 206 with fellow centurion Alastair Cook as England levelled the score at 1-1 and took the momentum on for another victory in Kolkata and eventual 2-1 success.