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Cricket: BORN TO RUN; Kev hits land of fathers with one mother of a ton.

Byline: By Jim Smyth

FIRED-UPKevin 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 chances and switched to 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 when he scored three centuries.

But yesterday on his maiden Test appearance against his homeland, Pietersen guided England to 309 for three.

He hit 104 not out to share an unbroken 192 with Ian Bell (75 no) and said: "There was a lot of speculation about me being originally from South Africa but when I reached 100 the crowd were magnificent.

"I knew I had to play well at the start of my career to try to get everyone on my side.

"There was a lot of nonsense which I expected but sitting here now I feel as English as anyone. I absolutely love it."

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 took scalps.

From 117 for three, however, Pietersen responded with13 fours and a six off 127 balls after he was hit on the head by Steyn when he had just one run to his name.

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.

He added: "The crowd just kept going - I feel so loved now."

CAPTION(S):

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
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jul 11, 2008
Words:364
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