COLOMBO (Reuters) - England’s Kevin Pietersen ruffled some feathers again with his attempts to play his trademark switch-hit which earned him an official warning on Thursday in the second test against Sri Lanka.
The flamboyant right-handed batsman entertained the sizeable crowd with powerful shots, ripe with improvisation, on his way to his 20th test hundred.
The aggressive innings of 151 put England in command and was not short of drama as well.
Off-spinner Tillakaratne Dilshan’s leg-stump line with a packed leg-side field prompted Pietersen, in his 90s, to attempt the switch-hit to utilise open spaces on the off-side.
The laws allow the switch-hit - a right-hander playing a shot with a left-hander’s grip - but restrict a batsman from changing the stance before the delivery has been bowled.
Pietersen twice shaped up to play the shot but Dilshan pulled up in his delivery stride on both occasions.
Pietersen was then officially warned for the premeditated movement and had there been a repetition, Sri Lanka would have been credited with five runs, match referee Javagal Srinath said later in a statement.
Pietersen immediately responded to the warning with a reverse sweep to get to his 100, but later denied there was any fuss, telling reporters: ”There’s no issue.
”I just got my timing wrong. He (the umpire) said it was a warning because I moved my hands a bit too quick.
”I don’t understand the rules, it’s something I found out today, mid-innings, at a pretty unfortunate time. I’ve just got to switch my hands a little later, which I didn’t know.
“You learn something new every day. Once I’d been warned I inquired about it. Like I said (in 2008) when I played it against New Zealand, I don’t think the batsman should get penalised because I‘m taking the biggest risk.”
Umpire Bruce Oxenford, standing at square-leg, decided that Dilshan had not completed his delivery stride before Pietersen’s movement.
“The intention is not to prevent the switch-hit, it is actually to be encouraged. The ICC think it is an exciting innovation and like to see it continue,” he told Sky Sports.
“The problem is when the bowler sees the intent of the batsman to change and switch-hit prior to delivering the ball and stops.”
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