Pietersen set for big runs - Flower
Andy Flower, the England coach, has admitted Kevin Pietersen has had problems against left-arm spinners but says he is "very excited" by what he is seeing of the talismanic batsmen in the nets.
The one blemish on England's astonishing victory over Sri Lanka in Cardiff was Pietersen's failure, falling to a left-arm spinner for the 19th time in his last 61 Test dismissals, Rangana Herath being the latest beneficiary. Flower, however, didn't see that coming in the way of what he predicts will be a "great summer" for Pietersen.
"It is obvious he has had his issues," Flower said. "I will be perfectly honest with you, I am very excited by what I see from KP at the moment. I think he's on the verge of being a very heavy scorer again. I love the way he's training and I know when he transfers that to the middle he's going to be a very heavy scorer. I envisage him having a great summer for England."
Meanwhile, the Daily Telegraph reported Pietersen had an extra net session on Tuesday, where he worked on facing left-arm spin, while his England team-mates had the day off. Pietersen has so far been defiant when questioned about whether he has a weakness against left-arm spinners.
Flower pointed to Pietersen's 99 against Bangladesh in March last year as an example that Pietersen was capable of handling left-arm spinners. "He's had his obvious battles playing left-arm spin but he is aware of them and is working hard at them. When he was out in Bangladesh he scored a fine Test century  against at least two left-arm spinners. He worked hard in the nets there on his method against left-arm spin and he played them very comfortably. Since then he has had a few ups and downs, but I don't envisage this problem continuing."
Pietersen had to face the left-arm spin of Shakib Al Hasan and Abdur Razzak during that innings. He scored a half-century against Bangladesh during England's home series before a poor run against Pakistan drew criticism in the lead-up to the Ashes. Pietersen answered his doubters with a double-century in Adelaide, but that remains his only Test hundred in the last two years. That run has coincided with a lean patch in domestic cricket too.
While Pietersen may have issues to work through, England's rise in Tests continued in Cardiff where they bowled Sri Lanka out for 82 in 24.4 overs to pull off an improbable win. Flower said he didn't have much hope of winning when England declared on the fifth day.
"We thought there was just a 3 or 4% chance of us winning if we took a few early wickets with the new ball. But it was definitely the way to go, rather than let the game peter out to a boring draw."
James Anderson was injured during the Test and Jade Dernbach has been called up to the squad for the second Test, at Lord's. Flower, however, said Steven Finn, 12th man in Cardiff, was likely to play.
"Finn looks good to me. He looks like he's got his rhythm back, which he lost in Australia. He has done some really good work with Richard Johnson at Middle+++ and Angus Fraser. Physically, he looks big and strong now, less like a boy and more like a man. I caught a few balls with the mitt, and he is bowling quick. We will have a decision to make on which bowler to leave out, and it won't be an easy one. But he's got a very good chance of playing at Lord's."