Kevin Pietersen has admitted that England were pushed a lot more than expected during the winter and the recent Test against West Indies, where they managed to beat the tourists on day five in a contest that at moments looked like it could swing either way.
England (2/5 To Win 2nd Test) were chasing 191 to win the match, but at one point were 57-4 and looking shaky, caught off guard by a fifth-wicket stand of 157 between Shiv Chanderpaul and Marlon Samuels that left a bigger chase than anticipated. The West Indies (13/2 To Win 2nd Test) challenge waned, however, allowing England to complete the win with wickets in hand and go one up in the series.
Pietersen praised the team ethic when breaking down Chanderpaul ( 2/5 Top West Indies Series Batsman), commenting: "I think what really impressed the team and really impressed the management was, when we struggled to take that wicket on Sunday, the guys did their jobs, they stayed in their bubbles and didn't get frustrated. I think that's a real positive going into this next series in a month or two's time, because South Africa aren't going to be a walkover and we could find ourselves in a lot of trouble."
Pietersen also singled out captain Andrew Strauss, who hit is first Test century in 18 months in the first innings, recognising that at times in the past all England's (9/10 To Win The Series 3-0) top-order have at times struggled and leaping to Strauss's defence: "He obviously got for it a little bit but the man has got back-to-back Ashes captaincies under his belt, he's got 20 Test hundreds now, he's a very good leader of men and everybody likes him."