233 DELIVERIES, 20 FOURS, 4 SIXES
INDIA V ENGLAND, 2ND TEST, MUMBAI, 2012
India 327 (Pujara 135; Panesar 5-129, Swann 4-70) & 142 (Panesar 6-81, Swann 4-43) lost to England 413 (Pietersen 186, Cook 122; Ojha 5-143) & 58-0 by 10 wickets
OPPOSITION ATTACK: Ravi Ashwin, Pragyan Ojha, Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj Singh
Sometimes it’s narrative context, other times technical virtuosity, that propels these innings on to this list. And then, every so often, it’s the killer combination of both. KP was trouble in 2012. Dropped for being more trouble than he was worth; then brought back, thanks to captain Cook’s intervention, because ultimately he wasn’t. His technique may have been scrambled in the first Test; in the second at Mumbai, on a vintage turner, it was the foundation upon which all that skill, imagination and chutzpah could be fully expressed.
The statuesque, slow-motion Cantona-like celebration following the reverse-sweep that brought up his ton, arms aloft after 127 balls of unbelievable audacity, spoke of a man at ease in his ego, and at peace out there on the pitch, away from the cameras and the murmurs, just for a moment. The Indian crowd, for he was always theirs as much as anyone else’s, went berserk for one of their own. Pietersen won the day; England won the match. It’s worth remembering how often that happened.