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Kevin Pietersen 158 vs. Australia, The Oval, September 2005

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Uploaded on Aug 14, 2009

This was the most important Ashes innings by an England batsman since Ian Botham demoralised Australia on the opening day of the 1986-87 series in Brisbane. And it almost never happened. When Pietersen came out to bat on the last day of the series in 2005 with England needing a draw to secure their first Ashes win in 18 years, Glenn McGrath had just removed Michael Vaughan and Ian Bell in consecutive balls. His hat-trick delivery struck Pietersen on the shoulder and rebounded to gully - only for umpire Billy Bowden to correctly rule not out.

More tension was to follow. In the next over, Matthew Hayden dropped a tough chance at slip as Pietersen, still yet to score, pushed forward nervously at Shane Warne. And when Warne himself dropped a straightforward catch at slip when Pietersen, on 15, edged a drive off Brett Lee, it seemed clear which side the Gods had decided to smile on.

But there was plenty of work to be done.

http://www.cricinfo.com/kevinpieterse...

Lawrence Booth, Cricinfo

Footage courtesy Channel 4, Sunset and Vine.

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