Oxford, England: Kevin Pietersen was challenged to rack up runs in domestic cricket to stand any chance of an unlikely return to the England team after a year away from the international game.
He couldn't have started any better.
In his first game for Surrey since re-signing for the county to revive his international prospects, Pietersen struck 170 off 149 balls on the opening day of a three-day friendly match against Oxford MCCU at The Parks.
It was his first century in any form of the game since the Ashes test at Old Trafford in August 2013, and a clear reminder to the England selectors of his enduring quality. He struck 24 fours and two sixes.
The South Africa-born Pietersen — England's most prolific run-scorer in all formats — was dumped after last year's Ashes whitewash by Australia so, as England put it, the team could build a new "ethos and philosophy."
Colin Graves, the incoming chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board, has said players would be picked on performance and not personality when he takes over the role in May.