Redeemed Pietersen fought hard for his 73 from 188 deliveries taking England to a still struggling five for 139.

Earlier, captain Alastair Cook was unable to replicate his form from the third Test after an lbw call that would conservatively be called contentious, but accurately dubbed absurd and the exact reason the decision review system (which India refuses to agree to the use of) exists.

Playing forward from the bowling of Ishant Sharma, the ball angled across the left hander, pitching inside of off stump and was going on to miss everything. It was a howler, and he was gunned down for 1.

Nick Compton also fell cheaply, caught behind by Dhoni for 1 off Sharma again, before Jonathan Trott (44) and Pietersen restored order, before Ian Bell went for one.

The hard work done by KP and Trott gave keeper Prior and debutant Joe Root a platform which made the most of, finishing the day with an unbeaten 60-run partnership against the host’s four spinners.

“It’s the toughest wicket I’ve played Test cricket on in terms of trying to play strokes,” Pietersen said.

“But what the wicket’s going to do, I haven’t got a clue – it looks similar now to what it did when we started.”

KP added the success of Sharma on the spin-friendly wicket was a good sign for England’s quicks, Tim Bresnan and James Anderson.

“I think we are in a position of strength,” he added. “All I know is that scoring was incredibly hard, especially against Ishant – so we hope ‘Bressie’ and Jimmy can do us a really good job.”

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