Strauss, Pietersen lead England run feast

EAST LONDON: England captain Andrew Strauss cruised to a century and Kevin Pietersen played himself into form on the first day of the touring team's two-day match against a South African Invitation XI at Buffalo Park on Friday.

The England batsmen feasted on some unthreatening bowling as they piled up 317 for five in their final warm-up match before the first Test against South Africa starting in Centurion on Wednesday.

Strauss made exactly 100 off 161 balls before he was one of three batsmen who retired, while Pietersen hit 71 off 101 deliveries. Pietersen and Ian Bell were the only batsmen to be dismissed by bowlers.

Strauss and Alastair Cook put on 101 for the first wicket before Cook retired on 52. It was his second successive half-century after he made 81 in the first match between the two teams which ended on Thursday.

Jonathan Trott was the third batsman to retire after making a watchful 50 off 135 balls.

Although the bowling and a slow pitch were in contrast to what he is likely to encounter in the Test match, Pietersen played a confidence- building innings to register his first half-century since pulling out of the Ashes series against Australia in July because of an ankle injury which required surgery.

He hit 12 boundaries before he was caught at deep midwicket off the off-spinner Yaseen Vallie.

Medium-pacer Roy Adams conceded only 14 runs in 13 overs to be the pick of the Invitation team bowlers. The Invitation team is drawn from South Africa's amateur provincial competition.