Cricket: BORN TO RUN; Kev hits land of fathers with one mother of a ton.
IRED-UP Kevin Pietersen hit the 13th Test ton of his career to punish the land of his birth at Lord's yesterday.
The batsman's stormy relationship with South Africa worked to England's benefit and ensured they dominated the first day of the four-Test series.
Ever since Pietersen quit his homeland in protest at the quota system which he swore was hindering his opportunities and took his chances with England, he has been a major target for Springbok fans. He was booed on and off the pitch during his maiden one-day series in South Africa in 2004-5, during which he scored three centuries, and only this week captain Graeme Smith said: "Kevin and I would get on better if he kept his mouth shut."
But yesterday on his maiden Test appearance against South Africa, Pietersen guided England to 309 for three. He hit 104 not out to share an unbroken 192 with Ian Bell (75 no).
South Africa's pace attack went wicketless through the morning and evening sessions and were out of luck for all but three overs of the afternoon.
But after Alastair Cook (60) and Andrew Strauss had shared an opening stand of 114, Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn suddenly began to live up to their lofty reputations.
From 117 for three, however, Pietersen responded with his fourth Test ton at Lord's, hitting 13 fours and a six off 127 balls.
He was hit on the head by Steyn when he had just one run to his name and it was Bell who was into his stride more quickly after the two batsmen came together without arun between them.
But once Pietersen found his feet, his fourth-wicket partner let him take control.
When the hundred came with a four crashed past cover off Morkel with the second new ball, Pietersen celebrated by leaping high into the air - and repeating the dose as he ran to the non-striker's end.
KEVIN ABOVE: Pietersen leaps for joy after reaching his century and surviving a strike on the head from South Africa's Dale Steyn on the opening day of the First Test at Lord's yesterday