Kevin Pietersen was not permitted to bat, but his spirit of adventure infused Surrey as they set about securing a most remarkable seven-wicket win over Leicestershire in the English County Championship at the Oval on Wednesday.
Pietersen was dropped down the order to No 7 because he had spent two sessions off the field following his monumental innings of 355 (not out), having a calf injury iced and stretched. During that time, and afterwards, Leicestershire fought magnificently to score 480, which left Surrey needing 216 off 24 overs. Nearly nine an over, which even in T20 terms is a tough ask. And even more so when there were no restrictions on fielders or bowlers.
Ordinarily, Pietersen would have emerged from the pavilion in an atmosphere he would have relished. But, nonetheless, Surrey put in their T20 specialists, Jason Roy and Steve Davies, to see what they could do. They proceeded to put on 145 runs in 11 overs, at which point Roy was dismissed for 67 off 39 balls with six fours and four sixes. The run-rate then, was just 5.4. Davies went on to 115 off 69 balls with 11 fours and four sixes. It was a stroll in the park.
Jason Roy, by the way, is a South African, born in Durban in 1990. But he left these hallowed shores when he was 10. He has a swagger, breathtaking power down the ground and penchant for switch-hitting and he is frequently compared to Pietersen, not least by Pietersen himself.
He was a the star of the England Lions one-day team which crushed South Africa A 3-1 early this year, ending the leading run-scorer on 261 runs from four innings.
Elsewhere, Alviro Petersen came good with a 63 off 92 balls (8×4), top-scoring in Lancashire’s chase of 300 at Old Trafford. But it was not enough as they fell short to give Gloucestershire victory by 91 runs. Ashwell Prince, too, fell short after a great run, scoring only two as the hosts collapsed in 57 overs.
Rory Kleinveldt contributed a valuable 36 at No 10 as Northamptonshire held out for a draw against Derbyshire.
The Derbys captain Wayne Madsen was unbeaten on 51 as he offered Northants a target of 426. To their credit, Northants weren’t that far off, closing on 390-9.
Gritty Glamorgan, aided by a fighting 51 from Colin Ingram, batted throughout the final day to deny Kent an opening win and land a dramatic and unexpected draw.
Set an improbable 404 for what would also have been their maiden success of the season, Glamorgan lost only eight wickets throughout the fourth and final day to clinch a fourth draw from as many starts.
Ingram and Dean Cosker combined either side of lunch to add 87 for the fourth wicket until the South African – the ball after posting his 77-ball half-century – nicked to slip to go for 51, which helped make up for his first-innings duck. Jacques Rudolph had a less productive game, scoring six and 14.
Compiled by Mark Salter