KP impresses as others fall

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Published: Sunday 12th April 2015 by The News Editor

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Kevin Pietersen was closing in on a half-century but was in danger of being isolated on his long-awaited return to domestic cricket as Surrey’s top order crumbled against MCC Universities Oxford.

The 34-year-old’s attempt to force his way back into the England reckoning was lacking support, with Pietersen unbeaten on 47 from 58 balls, with Surrey 122 for five, at lunch on day one of the three-day game at The Parks.

Pietersen has played exclusively Twenty20 cricket in various leagues around the world since being axed by England following the humiliating Ashes whitewash defeat last year.

His last first-class match was in January 2014, when Australia sealed a 5-0 thrashing of England in Sydney, and his prior most recent appearance for Surrey was in the LV= County Championship in June 2013.

The pre-season warm-up lacked first-class status, but Pietersen’s inclusion in Surrey’s line-up attracted several hundred spectators and a number of photographers’ long lenses.

Pietersen – labelled “disengaged” by now former managing director of England cricket Paul Downton – has given up a deal with Indian Premier League side Sunrisers Hyderabad in order to come back to Surrey as he bids to add to his 104 Test caps with England.

Political manoeuvrings at the ECB could yet help his hopes for a recall, but one spectator on Sunday made his feelings clear, saying: “Do it for England, Oxford. Get him out first ball.”

Surrey won the toss and elected to bat, but swiftly lost two wickets, bringing Pietersen to the middle in the 10th over, 38 minutes into the match.

Pietersen left his first two deliveries and returned the third to bowler Sam Weller, who threatened to throw at the stumps, released the ball slowly and it hit a turning Pietersen on the sole of his right shoe.

England’s leading run-scorer moved off the mark on his eighth delivery and hit his first boundary after 31 balls.

Vikram Solanki (21) and Steven Davis (nine) fell before Pietersen opened up and moved on the verge of his 50.

Jason Roy fell for 12 as Surrey slipped to 113 for five, with Pietersen unbeaten on 45.

He added two more to reach the interval three short of his half century, showing patience as he sought time in the middle.

Published: Sunday 12th April 2015 by The News Editor

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