One game into his return to the County Championship and Kevin Pietersen’s case for an international recall has not exactly moved forward.
That is not to say it has regressed either, with an unbeaten half-century on day four in Cardiff, where Glamorgan and Surrey were forced to shake on a draw, offering some atonement for a disappointing 19 in the first innings.
Pietersen’s stated aim is a mountain of runs to force the England selectors into a rethink but he had to put aside such thoughts and play to the situation that saw Surrey hunt quick runs for the declaration. The result was 53 cruised to in 70 balls that allowed his side to post 207 for four in 37 overs and set the hosts 352 to win 30 minutes after lunch.
But on a pitch that points to a run-soaked first Ashes Test here in July, an effortless 51 from the Glamorgan captain, Jacques Rudolph, and a maiden first-class half-century for the club for his young opening partner James Kettleborough blunted the visiting attack. Glamorgan reached 116 without loss before the handshakes at 5pm.
Gareth Batty’s declaration left Pietersen two runs shy of becoming the fastest Surrey batsman to 1,000 first-class runs, with next weekend’s fixture against Essex at The Oval presenting the last chance to take the title outright from Mark Ramprakash and Zander de Bruyn in what will be his 17th innings for the club. Not that the Surrey captain was too fussed.
“If we select him next week then fingers crossed he gets it,” Batty said, jokingly. “I thought he played really well today. We had been going at a lick, so he was able to drop anchor and get us to the total we wanted like a true professional. He has been magnificent for us all week and has been giving everything for us, be it runs or in the field. We would be sorry to lose him if England wanted him.”
That lick came chiefly from the first innings centurion Kumar Sangakkara, who provided the greatest entertainment in a morning that saw 176 runs scored for the loss of four wickets. The Sri Lankan enjoyed a running battle with the left-armer Graham Wagg and took great delight in putting him back over his head for six in his 27-ball 40. It was the only shot of brutality, with Sangakkara’s six fours laced with typical panache.
The introduction of Craig Meschede ended the fun, with his third ball sliced to slip. Picking up Sangakkara and Pietersen in the same match, along with a century from No9 on day three which squeaked Glamorgan past the follow-on and effectively sealed the result, made this a game to remember for the 23-year-old South African on loan from Somerset.
Wagg had already enjoyed two early wickets, removing the opener Rory Burns with a neat caught and bowled off a leading edge and Steven Davies, pushed up to open on the back of his double-century in the first innings, bowled off the inside edge for 21. But the feisty seamer’s greatest celebration came after a catch at short extra-cover off Dean Cosker’s bowling, taken in full flight as the ball screamed off the middle of Jason Roy’s bat on 29.
Pietersen had put on 43 with his young sidekick, before he and Gary Wilson added an unbroken 86 in 17.4 overs either side of lunch. With the 57-over chase needing to go at over six an over, Rudolph and Kettleborough gently massaged the ball around for half-centuries.
“This would be a very good pitch if you went into day five,” said Rudolph, whose side took nine points from the match to Surrey’s 12. “KP was saying to me that this was similar to a Test wicket and I can vouch for that too. We need a pitch with a little bit more carry to make it easy for our seamers. That’s where you get your nicks from.”
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