Pie-chucker strikes again

Bruce Dickinson, lead man of British heavy-metal band Iron Maiden, once called him a combination of Henry IV, V and VI. Just a day earlier, West Indian legend Vivian Richards had called him the Muhammad Ali of the cricketing world. Kevin Pietersen has always attracted such metaphors. There's hardly a dull moment when the Englishman, once named 'The Ego' by Shane Warne, steps onto the field.

Despite his indifferent and at times haughty demeanor, Yuvraj Singh invokes no less drama with whatever he does on the cricket field. And a tussle between the two, especially when Yuvraj is bowling to Pietersen, is always fascinating.

Back during a ODI series in 2006, Pietersen dismissed the Indian all-rounder's left-arm spin, calling him a "pie-chucker", and Yuvraj responded by getting rid of the English stalwart three times in the series and once later the most by any bowler in ODIs. Pietersen has fallen to Yuvraj once in Test cricket, a form of the game in which fellow left-arm spinners such as Shakib Al Hasan (4 times), Paul Harris, Sulieman Benn and Rangana Herath (3 times each) have also enjoyed success against him.

On Wednesday, after Pietersen had blazed away to 23 with three boundaries and one huge six off Suresh Raina, it seemed only a matter of time before Yuvraj would be brought on. And for the umpteenth time, it was the Indian who ended up with the last laugh.

The first ball Yuvraj sent down, Pietersen pushed away. To the second, he advanced down the wicket, but failed to get any elevation. All he managed was to hit it straight back to Yuvraj, who accepted the catch gleefully. While Pietersen walked away, Yuvraj stood triumphant as his teammates surrounded him. Skipper Suresh Raina later revealed, cheekily, that bringing Yuvraj on against Pietersen had been an intentional plot. "He has had success against KP in the past. He was elated with the wicket," he said.

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