England in SA
KP nearly back to best form
Kevin Pietersen (Gallo Images)
Durban - England batsman Kevin Pietersen said he was almost back to his best form after recovering from an Achilles tendon injury.
Pietersen underwent surgery in July and missed the last there Ashes tests but he showed glimpses of a return to form in scoring 81 in the second innings of the drawn first test against South Africa last week.
"Technically-wise I think I am almost back to my best," Pietersen told a news conference on Wednesday.
"Learning to trust my leg was a big thing for me but I am almost there and hopefully the consistent batting will come back at some stage and I think I am almost there," he added.
The 29-year-old's innings was ended by a run out after he set off for a tight single only for his partner Jonathan Trott to remain firmly rooted in his crease.
Pietersen said he accepted full responsibility for his dismissal.
"That run-out was my fault and I held my hands up and apologised for it. It was just a bit of a brain freeze. Well, not really a brain freeze, it was a case of trying to rotate the strike.
"It is the way that I play. I make mistakes but I was actually really restrained all day and played an innings that is not typically me. Even the dismissal was restrained. It was played right under the eyes and I just misjudged a run."
Pietersen said that although his partnership with Trott ended in unfortunate circumstances the 145-run stand the duo shared was crucial.
"The important thing was that three and four batted in a partnership," he said. "Paul Collingwood, at five, and myself have formed a good partnership of the last few years in terms of how we have gone about things.
"Our top-order has always been 20 for three or 10 for two and if we can get some consistency so that one, two, three, four, five and six can bat really well together and build partnerships then, for the England cricket team, it will be magnificent."
England meet South Africa in the second test of the four- match series at Kingsmead in Durban, starting on December 26.
"I believe we can score runs against their bowling attack but we need to take 20 wickets," Pietersen said.
"Graeme Smith is a big wicket for us, so if we can keep getting him out cheaply, and manage to nip Jacques Kallis out, I think it puts a lot of pressure on the other players."