London, July 23: He exudes the confidence of a batsman that is still very much in the prime of his career. His air-punching gesture on reaching his third double Test century, in the ongoing encounter against India at Lords, helped symbolise the triumph that spells his middle name. Indeed, English middle-order batsmen Kevin Pietersen came up with an innings that was laden with intent, patience, grit and determination, as he virtually destroyed the Indian bowling attack.
In this ultimate essay on performance under pressure, Pietersen showed that he could blend cautious defence with outright belligerence in what commentator Sunil Gavaskar called one of the best-paced Test knocks ever. True to the character and temperament of top-class Test batsman, KP, cunningly wore down the Indian attack before launching an all-out assault and complete their demoralisation.
A clear indication of how much of a maverick he proved to be was that his first 50 came off 134 balls and his last fifty, off a mere 23! The flamboyant hitter that he is, produced a mesmerising array of strokes, even throwing in a couple of reverse sweeps for good measure. He had Ishant Sharma running for cover when soon after he crossed 150, clobbered the distraught pacer who could only watch the ball race to the boundary with ridiculous regularity.
Pietersen's patented slanted stance decreed that his target remained at the leg side, with each pull and swipe reminiscent of the past-masters. He straddled the line of stabiliser and aggressor with a telling ease that the Indian attack (save Praveen Kumar perhaps) were grappling for an answer to. Now, it remains to be seen whether any of the Indian batsman will emulate his invincibility as the visitors search for a way back into this Test match.