* Rain stops play at tea
* England lead by 306 runs
* Pietersen hits double century
* Cook falls for 148
(Adds more quotes)
By Nick Mulvenney
ADELAIDE, Dec 5 Kevin Pietersen replaced
Alastair Cook as Australia's tormentor with a majestic double
century as England took a commanding first innings lead before
rain curtailed the third day of the second Ashes test on Sunday.
The 30-year-old Pietersen still looked hungry for more on
213 not out alongside Ian Bell (41) as England moved to 551-4
and a lead of 306 when the rain came down at the tea break and
prevented any further play.
England declared on 551 in the corresponding test four
years ago and incredibly lost by six wickets but Australia,
who made 245 in their first innings, can only hope the rain
continues as they battle for a draw at best over the next two
Pietersen reached the second double century of his career
with a sprinted single off spinner Xavier Doherty before
dropping to one knee and pumping his fist as England's "Barmy
Army" of supporters gave him a huge ovation.
"It's wonderful to get runs and put our team in a position
to win a test match in Australia," Pietersen told reporters.
"I really do believe we're in a very strong position in
this game. Obviously the rain didn't help us out this
afternoon but to get a team into a position is great."
For Australia, the weather might have been milder than the
37 degrees Celsius they fielded in on Saturday but it was
another day of toil with scant reward for their bowlers.
Local quick Ryan Harris and wicketkeeper Brad Haddin did
finally manage to finally remove Cook off an inside edge for
148 in the morning to end to 17 1/2 hours of unbeaten batting
since the Englishman was dismissed in the first innings at the
Australia skipper Ricky Ponting admitted, however, that
his team had been outplayed over the last five days going back
to the drawn first test in Brisbane and needed to "bounce back".
"We'll see what we're made of, simple as that," he said.
"They've shown us how to bat on this wicket so far. I think
their skills and their application in their batting in the
last couple of games has been terrific and we have to emulate
that in the last couple of days of this game."
While Cook would not pretend to be a great technical
batsman, even the locals who booed Pietersen onto the pitch on
Saturday could not deny the quality of his innings.
Pietersen secured his first test century in 18 matches
going back to March last year in the morning, celebrating the
single off Harris with a roar that rang around the ground.
"I do love the big stage," Pietersen said. "It's been
quite tough over the last 18 months.
"I've got high standards and to get 80s, 90s, 99s, 60s,
50s, does my head in. Yes, so it was great for that one to go
down fine leg."
Pietersen relaxed a little after reaching his 100 and was
soon peppering boundaries around the Adelaide Oval, where he
scored 158 in the corresponding test four years ago. His
double century came off 283 balls and included 29 fours and
He had a minor scare when he was on 91 and Australia
requested a review of a refused lbw appeal but the television
pictures showed Harris's delivery had hit his pad outside the
line of the wickets.
Shane Watson trapped Paul Collingwood lbw for 42 three
overs after lunch but apart from Harris (2-84), the specialist
bowlers struggled on the lifeless wicket.
Quicks Doug Bollinger (1-121) and Peter Siddle (0-100)
were expensive while left-arm spinner Doherty (0-120) never
looked like giving Pietersen the sort of problems he was
brought into the side to provide.
"They're toiling away, they're doing their best, there's
not much in the track," Ponting said.
"We've just got to keep hanging in there and see if we can
make some breakthroughs, but I think to tell the truth now
most of the work for the rest of the game's going to be done
with our batting.
Play will start half an hour early on Monday at 10:00 am
local time (2330 GMT).
(Editing by John O'Brien)
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