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Pietersen century gives England the lead

Kevin Pietersen took on the Sri Lankan bowling and emerged victorious on the third day of the Test in Colombo. Belying suggestions that he struggled against spin, Pietersen went on the attack and struck a devastating 151 in breathtaking style.

It was an innings devoid of nerves or caution, and full of swaggering disdain. When he bats like this, Pietersen can claim to be the most entertaining cricketer on the planet. His innings also left England in a commanding position.

Mostly he dealt in boundaries. Pietersen hit 15 fours and 6 sixes as the Sri Lankan spinners tried to rein him in. Pietersen has had a frustrating winter, with few runs and no Test victories. In Colombo he made it clear that his spring had arrived.

"When I'm in nick I like to play like that,” he said. “I've never been able to explain how I do it. It is just instinct. If the ball is there to hit, I hit it."

The one slight glitch came when Pietersen attempted to employ his switch-hit, where he changes his hands mid-flight to hit the ball. On 3 occasions the bowler Dilshan spotted Pietersen's intention and stopped the delivery, causing Pietersen to be given a warning by the umpire. "It was no issue, absolutely not," Pietersen said. "I got my timing wrong; I moved my hands too soon. I didn't understand the rules. Once I was warned I enquired about it with the umpire."

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