KP - No point to prove
Ex-skipper leads the way - but falls short of ton
Last Updated: February 5, 2009 9:57pm
Pietersen: Three runs short of a century
Kevin Pietersen may have rescued England's first innings on day one of the first Test against the West Indies but the former captain denied he had set out with a point to prove.
"I don't need to prove a point to anyone, the lads have been fantastic."
Kevin Pietersen Quotes of the week
The Hampshire batsman hit 97 as the tourists reached 236-5 in their first innings at Sabina Park.
England won the toss but slumped at one point to 94-4 before recovering - a process overseen in no small part by Pietersen.
Asked whether he was motivated by losing the England captaincy last month following his falling out with coach Peter Moores - who also lost his job - Pietersen told Sky Sports 1: "Not at all - I don't need to prove a point to anyone, the lads have been fantastic.
"There were some huge character assassinations which I didn't like.
"I came here just wanting to play cricket.
"I was hurt by the way people treated me for four or five days until I explained what had happened.
"I just loving playing cricket."
Pietersen appeared headed for three figures in style having bludgeoned two fours and a six off the bowling of spinner Sulieman Benn.
However, the latter had the last laugh when Pietersen promptly skied the next delivery to Denesh Ramdin.
Pietersen defended the ambitious shot from which he was out, saying: "That's how I play. Today it wasn't to be.
"If you'd have given me 97 this morning I'd have said yes.
"I've been criticised a lot for the way I play and it's the way it is.
"It's a pretty good position England are in at the moment."
The 28-year-old also bristled at the suggestion that Benn had dominated him before tea.
"Did he?" an incredulous Pietersen replied. "He bowled some good balls, I was playing the line - you are allowed to bowl some good balls.
"I think he got tired after tea and bowled fuller balls than originally and started hitting more gaps.
"Sometimes it just goes for you.
"Our dressing room is happy."
Hosts on top?
Benn, who also claimed the wicket of Paul Collingwood, said he believes the hosts are on top.
"We won today. On that pitch there could have been a lot more runs," Benn said.
"We are ahead at the moment."
On his battle with Pietersen, he continued: "It's all good fun, he kept me going a bit.
"You know you are going to get hit for a couple of runs."