Pietersen - It's him or me
Policy was to try and hit fast bowlers out of the attack
Last Updated: August 4, 2012 8:52pm
Kevin Pietersen: one of the best knocks of his career
Kevin Pietersen admitted he saw his duel with Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn as akin to a gladiatorial contest - and one he was delighted to come out on top in.
Pietersen ended day three of the second Investec Test unbeaten on 149 after, by his own admission, trying to hit world number one bowler Dale Steyn out of the attack.
The innings led England to 351-5 in response to South Africa's 419 and allowed them to target a series-levelling victory rather than aiming simply to save the match.
"With that attack, especially when Morkel came around the wicket, it's him or me. I don't see the point in dodging the ball and being hit, I'd rather do the hitting."
Kevin Pietersen Quotes of the week
The tone of the innings shifted with a blistering attack on first Morne Morkel and then Steyn, after the former came around the wicket to bombard him with short-pitched bowling.
"They're an incredible attack, they keep coming to the last ball but luckily I've ended up getting a hundred," Pietersen told Sky Sports. "That's something I'm very happy about and we're in a good position if we bat well tomorrow.
"With that attack, especially when Morkel came around the wicket, it's him or me. I don't see the point in dodging the ball and being hit, I'd rather do the hitting.
Have a go
"I tried to go through the gears today. Once I'd seen how much swing there was, I wanted to try to have a go at Steyn and get him out of the attack.
"He runs at you all the time, you can't just take it all the time. The field was up and I was seeing it well so I tried to get after him.
"I tried to play the situation but play my way - play straight, watch the ball, play late and hit the ball. I was just playing the ball on its merit - see ball, hit ball."
Debutant James Taylor dug in for a creditable 34 at the other end in a fifth-wicket partnership of 147 with Pietersen, after his middle-order colleagues had rather gifted their wickets to the Proteas.
And Pietersen felt the 11-inch height difference between himself and the 5ft 5in Nottinghamshire man brought a similar benefit to the contrast in styles with his long-time team-mate Paul Collingwood - the pair's average partnership in 45 innings was 60.04.
"He's (Taylor) done a good job and we've done a good job," he said. "It's difficult with Steyn and Morkel, Philander with the new ball and Kallis too.
"There's a bit of a height difference. Colly and I have one of the better partnership ratios for England because of that - Colly is so far back on his stumps, so you have to bowl different lengths.
"When they bowl a certain length to somebody shorter, I've preyed off a lot of balls that were pitched up for me to drive."