5 lesser known instances when players excelled in pressure situations
#4. Kevin Pietersen against India, 2nd test, England Vs India, Mumbai 2012
Kevin Pietersen has shredded world class attacks into pieces. His 149 on a bouncy pitch at Leeds against the best fast bowling attack in the world, in 2012 was the embodiment of the unbelievable talent he was! He could dismantle fast bowling like few others in the world.
But over the years, he had one nemesis.
Left arm spin and Kevin Pietersen just don't go in the same phrase.
Pietersen was abysmal against left arm spin for a large part of his career. Prolific bowlers like Daniel Vettori and Rangana Herath had the wood on him for a significantly long period of time. Paul Harris, Suleiman Benn and Yuvraj Singh had all piled on the misery.
Even a lesser successful bowler like Pragyan Ojha reduced him to a walking wicket in the first test of England's tour of India in 2012. It was in Ahmedabad, which was not a rank turner. England still had 3 tests left in the series. Surely Pietersen would be given a barrage of left arm spin to face?
MS Dhoni ordered a rank turner for the 2nd test in Mumbai. The pitch was a dustbowl in the true sense of the phrase. Surely this was going to be Pietersen's graveyard? Or was it?
In what was one of the greatest innings played in Indian soil by an Englishman, Kevin Pietersen launched a spectacular assault in Mumbai and scorched a breathtaking 186. He took the conventional off spinners apart but what was eye raising was the disdain with which he treated the left armer Pragyan Ojha as well. Pietersen's 186 came off just 233 balls and it turned the series upside down. It was a statement of intent and this went a long way in banishing the demons that had crept into his mind. The innings was hailed as a clinic in how to play spin in rank turners, and the fact that it came from a man not known to play spin well, affirmed his status as one of the most breathtaking players Cricket has ever seen.
The innings had far reaching implications, as India fell into their own trap and succumbed to Monty Panesar. The knock was the major reason England could level the series at 1-1, and would ultimately prove to be the turning point of the series, as England would go on to win the series 2-1 and hand India a first series loss at home in 8 years.