KP reminds Donald of Lara
South African bowling coach Allan Donald was left in awe after England batsman Kevin Pietersen orchestrated a dazzling century on day three of the second test.
Pietersen's 149 not out carried the hosts to a total of 351 for five - and reduced the deficit to 68 - in reply to the opposition's 419 all out at Headingley on Saturday.
Welcoming the 21st century of his prolific career, the talented right-hander faced 212 deliveries, striking 22 boundaries and one six.
The right-hander was particularly severe on fast bowlers Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, who less than two weeks ago were at the fore of the Proteas' innings and 12-run triumph at The Oval.
Steyn copped the full force of Pietersen's aggression when a rank half-volley from the number one-ranked Test bowler was spanked with disdain, high and hard over the long-off fence. Donald was the one at hand to retrieve the ball.
Donald compared Kevin Pietersen to West Indian legend Brian Lara.
“He played seriously well,” said Donald, South Africa’s bowling coach.
“It reminds me of when I ran into Brian Lara, something in the category of a bit of a genius to play knocks like that.”
"Kevin's knock was something in the category of a genius," admitted Donald.
"We wanted to rough him up, but he was aggressive, he kept on pulling off hook shots and pull shots.
"All due respect - Kevin Pietersen played a magnificent innings, and got England back into this test match.
"We say we we're going to fight fire with fire. That's what you get with Kevin Pietersen. If you ask me 'what could you have done more?', I'm not quite sure.
"You've got to take your hat off to him. He played out of his socks, absolutely brilliantly."
Donald implored his troops to put Saturday's disappointment behind them and come out fighting on day four, when Pietersen will resume alongside Matt Prior, who is unbeaten on 20.
"There's no point us feeling sorry for ourselves. What happened was special cricket to watch, and we've got to turn that around," he concluded.
Meanwhile, captain Graeme Smith will be assessed overnight to determine the severity of his left knee injury and chances of further participation in the match.
Smith sustained the injury while fielding on the backward-point boundary late in the day. He struggled to get up, leaving the field soon thereafter for treatment.