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Rain disrupts play

Ted Corbett

BIRMINGHAM: We were made to wait at Edgbaston on Wednesday because a misty, drizzling rain seeped across the ground and prevented play for more than four hours which reduced the second one-day international to 29 overs a side.

Luckily we did not have to wait for the main event; New Zealand put England in to bat, ensuring that Kevin Pietersen and his switch hitting would be on show quickly. The country has gone switch-hit crazy in the last couple of days since KP, as he likes to be known, began leaping from right-handed to left-hander and smashed two deliveries from Scott Styris for six.

You had to be in Outer Mongolia to miss the impact of this great feat. It was on breakfast and midnight television, phone-in radio all day and featured in every newspaper worth the name. Even MCC woke up from their normal state of suspended animation to declare the shot legal and exciting.

We also had to wait for the formalities, like the opening stand by in-form Ian Bell and not-yet-established Luke Wright. Happily Bell was out third ball caught at mid-off and so those who had been so patient could pray for Pietersen to play his now famous shot, like a star of stage and screen singing a favourite number.

His first stroke was a disappointment; an elegant cover drive for England’s first runs of the match and by the end of the over he had not even hinted at a left-right combination. It was a surprise half the crowd did not leave immediately.

By the end of the fifth over England 17 for one, KP (8), Wright (8) there were protests. Come on, Kevin, they shouted, And left, right so that after hitting a four Pietersen attempted a risky cut only to see bright young Wright slap the ball through the covers, gallop two and almost run out KP with a daring call.

It clearly unnerved poor Pietersen and at 13 he picked out Daniel Vettori with one of his biggest drives and was caught. He should have tried left-handed, of course, but he cannot have enjoyed being outplayed two to one in runs by Wright, who could not know how to play left-handed if you asked him.

Wright is clearly addicted to orthodoxy. He hit a four and two sixes in the tenth over and his fifty arrived in 33 balls. Anyway, the gods were clearly annoyed and when Wright was out for 52, torrents fell and play was halted temporarily with England 77 for three.

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