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Ashes heroes: Kevin Pietersen

A star performer across all formats, Kevin Pietersen was one of the most aggressive batters ever to play for England, amassing over 8,000 runs in 104 Test matches.

Regarded as a great of the game, Pietersen enjoyed his fair share of top Ashes moments, including a decisive century in the historic 2005 series and a sensational knock in Adelaide five years later.

The middle-order batter scored 23 Test centuries throughout his career and was also lethal in the shorter formats, being named as Player of the Series when England won their first Twenty20 World Cup back in 2010.

As the 2023 Ashes series approaches, here is a look at some of the best moments of Ashes hero Pietersen.

WhatEngland v Australia, 1st Test
WhereEdgbaston, Birmingham
WhenFriday 16th June to Tuesday 20th June
How to watchSky Sports Cricket & Main Event
OddsEngland 5/4, Draw 4/1, Australia 11/8


Maiden century sees England over the line

When reflecting on Pietersen's greatest Ashes moments for England, there is no better place to start than at The Oval in the fifth and final Test of the 2005 series.

It was set to be a nervy day in London with England on the brink of winning the Ashes for the first time in 18 years, having established a 2-1 lead in the series.

That meant they required only a draw at the Oval to regain the urn, whereas Australia needed a victory to level the series and retain the Ashes.

The situation did not look brilliant at lunch on the final day of the final Test with England on 127-5 but, upon his return after the interval, Pietersen was unleashed.

Adopting an ultra-aggressive style, Pietersen would go on to score 158 from only 187 deliveries in the second innings, blasting 15 fours and seven sixes in the process to put the match beyond Australia.

Only four balls were bowled in Australia's second innings before the umpires called time on the match, which finished as a draw and handed England the Ashes.

It really was the birth of Pietersen as an England powerhouse and it was made all the more impressive by the fact that was his maiden century in Test cricket.

Speaking about the occasion in his autobiography in 2014, he said: "I remember reading on the back of one of the papers that morning that England needed a hero. I decided that I was going to be that hero."

Explosive Adelaide puts England on the front foot

With Pietersen's help, England had made history in 2005 but they went into the 2010/11 series in Australia having not won an Ashes series Down Under in 24 years.

That was, however, about to change and Pietersen once again played his part.

The first Test at the Gabba in Brisbane had finished as a draw, but in the second match in Adelaide England stepped up to the mark.

Some fine bowling from James Anderson meant England restricted the hosts to just 245 in their first innings and in response the tourists put up a mammoth total of 620-5.

Pietersen was England's top scorer in that innings with a remarkable 227 scored from 308 balls at an eye-watering strike-rate of 73.70.

The South Africa-born batter did not hold back, hitting 33 fours in that innings and, having declared after that first-innings knock, England went on to win by an innings and 71 runs.

More importantly, they went on to win an historic Ashes series 3-1.

Resistance shown in 2006-07 humbling

The 2006-07 Ashes series down under will not be remembered fondly by England, who were humbled 5-0 by Ricky Ponting's men.

It was the first time a team had completed a 5-0 whitewash in the Ashes since 1920-21 and there was little to shout about for England, but Pietersen did at least show glimpses of quality.

Going into the series Pietersen was regarded as England's most dangerous player and that proved to be the case, as he top-scored for the tourists with 490 runs - Paul Collingwood (433) was the only other player to reach the 400-run mark.

The highlight of his series was his performance in Adelaide, where Pietersen made a century and shared a 310-run partnership with Collingwood.

Pietersen went off the boil in the later Tests, but deserved credit for the way he handled a formidable bowling attacking including Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath earlier in the series.

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