Another quite brilliant innings. He is one of the most expert pacers of an innings I have seen; to watch him build the foundation in his first fifty, then explode during the second, was quite special. But what made it even more special was yet another confrontation with the opposition, this time with Chris Gayle.
Things were getting seriously heated, for no apparent reason. It went on for a good hour or hour-and-a-half, with Gayle chirping from the slips and Pietersen giving it back at the end of each over. There were shoulder barges, glaring, swearing, petulance from the bowler, daring-do from the batsman. Inside this Test, an entirely separate and very personal battle was taking place.
Aptly, Pietersen eventually fell to Gayle. They smiled, shook hands, and off he went. They may not be best mates, but they were big enough to acknowledge one another’s performance and not let their disagreement become bigger than the game. It was cricket at its most compelling.