Cow Corner

Give Australia some credit for keeping Pietersen painfully quiet

Kevin Pietersen's sloppy dismissal to Peter Siddle was no less predictable than the hysterical reaction from England supporters that followed it.

It was almost fitting that Pietersen reached a hugely significant landmark before infuriating everyone with a staggeringly nonchalant error of judgement.

One minute the talismanic hero, the next a brainless and frustrating villain.

But as much as Pietersen's lax shot was frustrating, Australia's disciplined strategy and approach to him has been hugely impressive.

England's most free-spirited and mercurial batsman has been completely subdued and restricted so far in this series and the tourists are suffering badly as a result.

As such a key player in Alastair Cook's side, the effectiveness of Australia's tactics to Pietersen have left the England middle order devoid of swagger and aggression.

Let us not for a second underestimate what Pietersen has already achieved as an England player, both in heroic performances and sheer weight of runs.

Kevin Pietersen's international record

[Profile page: Kevin Pietersen]

[England battle after losing big wickets]

[The view from Down Under]

He became the fifth England batsman to go past 8,000 Test runs, achieving the landmark in just 176 innings - the quickest of anyone with the previous fastest among England batsmen being Graham Gooch, in 189 innings.

With 23 Test centuries at an average of very close to 50, Pietersen will go down as one of the greatest England batsmen ever. But that has never stopped people getting on his back.

Much of the reaction to his dismissal in Perth was furious and frustrated with no one seemingly able to comprehend how he could be so careless with his talent.

But as much as Pietersen can be prone to a rush of blood to the head and a rash departure, Australia deserve immense credit for the way they have kept him so quiet.

Discipline has been behind the hosts' approach as they have effectively kept the flamboyant strokeplayer caged up with their nagging line and length bowling and intelligent field placements.

Siddle, very wrongly branded as an average fast bowler by some, has now dismissed Pietersen on 10 separate occasions in Tests with an average against him of 16.70. No other bowler has dismissed the England batsman more than six times in the format.

It is one of the more remarkable examples of a batsman having a particular nemesis given that Siddle's plan to Pietersen is nothing more elaborate than simply bowling a frustratingly consistent line and length with fielders placed in awkward positions. Test cricket can appear very simple at times.

For all England's apparent intention to self-implode time and time again in this series, Australia's homework and pre-planning to the batsmen, in particular, has yielded rich rewards.

Despite periods of battling, improved cricket from England in Perth, the Ashes could well be already close to being lost. Pietersen has not distinguished himself so far on the tour, but sometimes a little credit can be afforded to a ferociously hungry and disciplined bowling unit marshalled by a forward-thinking and innovative captain.

For all of his infuriating lapses of concentration and ill-timed hubris on occasions, Pietersen is one of the all-time great England batsmen and has a record that stands up to any comparison.

At 33-years-old it is maybe about time that he was appreciated and given a touch more respect, even as he negotiates a lean spell or two. His achievements have at least warranted that.

Dan Quarrell - @Dan_Eurosport

Most Test runs scored for England

Player Span Mat Inns Runs HS Ave 100
GA Gooch 1975-1995 118 215 8900 333 42.58 20
AJ Stewart 1990-2003 133 235 8463 190 39.54 15
DI Gower 1978-1992 117 204 8231 215 44.25 18
G Boycott 1964-1982 108 193 8114 246* 47.72 22
KP Pietersen 2005-2013 102* 176 8007 227 47.66 23
AN Cook 2006-2013 100* 178 7955 294 47.35 25
MA Atherton 1989-2001 115 212 7728 185* 37.69 16
MC Cowdrey 1954-1975 114 188 7624 182 44.06 22
WR Hammond 1927-1947 85 140 7249 336* 58.45 22
AJ Strauss 2004-2012 100 178 7037 177 40.91 21