Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen have formed a fine ‘jugalbandi’ for England. However, whenever these two batsmen are on song, it is not sweet music to the opponents. The Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led Indian team had a taste of their ‘jugalbandi’ on the second and third day of second Test. One is an accumulator of runs while the other is one of the most destructive batsmen in modern cricket.
Their third-wicket partnership of 206 runs bettered the best third-wicket stand of 144 runs against India in India at Chennai in 1984-85 by Allan Lamb and Mike Gatting.
This is their third century partnership in India. They had on earlier occasions scored 124 runs in 2006 at Nagpur and 103 runs in 2008-09 at Mohali.
Ever since the 27-year-old Cook made his Test debut against India in 2006 at Nagpur, the left-handed opener has forged a strong bond with Pietersen. That the two have 11 century partnerships is enough proof that they are comfortable with each other irrespective of the controversies surrounding the 30-year-old Pietersen.
In fact, not so long ago, Pietersen was out of the England team after his reported SMS to some members of the South African team. Cook was the first to acknowledge his inclusion in the team. “It’s great to have a world-class player back in the ranks,” Cook had said.
While Cook has been in top form ever since he landed in India, scoring his 21st century at Ahmedabad, Pietersen disappointed in the first Test, getting out for low scores to left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha.
Incidentally, Cook and Pietersen, who had 21 centuries before the start of this Test, reached their 22nd centuries in the space of 12 deliveries to become the top centurions for England along with Wally Hammond, MC Cowdrey and Geoffery Boycott.