Ashes: KP backs England to win with spin

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> KP was excited by the prospect of Eng spinners playing a major role in the first Ashes Test after seeing the pitch take turn on the first day.

Updated: July 09, 2009 18:00 IST
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Kevin Pietersen was excited by the prospect of England's spinners playing a major role in the first Ashes Test after seeing the Sophia Gardens pitch take turn here on Wednesday's first day of the series.

England at stumps were 336 for seven after a day of fluctuating fortunes.

Pietersen, who top-scored with 69, fell shortly before the close to off-spinner Nathan Hauritz although his dismissal owed more to his mistiming an extravagant sweep shot than cunning deception by the bowler.

But, with England fielding two specialist slow bowlers in Graeme Swann and left-armer Monty Panesar, Pietersen was encouraged by the way Hauritz had turned the ball.

"The promising thing is that Nathan Hauritz is spinning it off straight and on day one and we've got two spinners," Pietersen told reporters.

Australia ended the first day of the previous two Ashes series on top with now retired quick Glenn McGrath running through England's top order at Lord's before home batsmen piled on the runs at Brisbane in 2006/07.

But here honours were even after fast bowler Peter Siddle took two late wickets to dismiss all- rounder Andrew Flintoff (37) and wicket-keeper Matt Prior (56) whose stand of 86, which came in just 95 balls, was threatening to take the game away from Australia.

Pietersen, who shared a fourth-wicket stand of 138 with Paul Collingwood (64) which helped revive England after they were 90 for three, said: "336 for seven, we'll definitely take.

"The previous two Ashes series, Australia dominated day one. I could be greedy, the team could be greedy, we'd like to be probably four or five down.

"Maybe Colly and myself could have gone on to get a really big score."

Hauritz, the only specialist spinner in the Australia squad, had taken just two wickets at an expensive 260 runs in the warm-up matches before this Test.

"Although he doesn't have the mystery spin of a Warne, Murali or Mendis, he'a clever bowler, no fool."

As for his dismissal, Pietersen said: "It was unfortunate the ball hit my helmet, otherwise I would have got away it."

Australia coach Tim Nielsen said of the shot: "He swept 15 times in the innings beforehand and played them all quite well.

"If a guy nicks a cover drive you don't tell him to stop cover driving, if he misses a sweep shot that's the way it goes sometimes."

Pietersen came into this match under the shadow of an Achilles injury and was limping at times during his innings.

However, the South Africa-born batsman, who made his England debut during their Ashes triumph four years ago, insisted it was nothing serious.

"Fitness wise I felt good, I was limping a bit because I've only just started my running programme.

It was just a bit of stiffness in the bottom of my legs."

Nielsen was particularly grateful for the late double strike from Siddle, who stuck to his task commendably on a slow pitch as a member of an Australia attack all of whom were making their Ashes debuts.

"If they (Flintoff and Prior) had been not out overnight and still going tomorrow (Thursday) morning with the ball hard and the wicket as good as it's going to be, we were going to be under pressure."

Looking ahead, Pietersen said England would now be aiming for a total of 400 even though that would mean one of their tailenders making a useful score.

"If we can get to 400 in the first innings here with the ball spinning off the straight we are in a pretty good position."

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