Kevin Pietersen became the fifth Englishman to score a double century in Australia as England's lead ballooned to 306 runs on the third day of the second Ashes Test at the Adelaide Oval on Sunday.

The No. 4 showman relished his return to the ground where he last hammered a big century to continue England's relentless accumulation of runs to plunder the home attack.

When rain washed out play after tea England was 551 for four with Pietersen on a majestic 213 and Ian Bell providing solid support on 41.

Skipper Andrew Strauss has a decision to make whether to bat on or declare and send Australia back in with two days left to go after a crucial result with the weather threatening to intervene.

Enough time

“I think rain, no rain there's a really good chance that we can win this Test match,” Pietersen said. “We believe there's enough time to win the Test match.”

Pietersen joined teammates Alastair Cook and Paul Collingwood, Walter Hammond (3) and Reg Foster as English double-centurions in Australia.

Pietersen dominated the third day as he helped himself to his second Test double-century and was within reach of his highest Test score of 226 against the West Indies in May 2007.

In doing so Pietersen broke through for his first Test century in 28 innings since his 102 against the West Indies at Port-of-Spain in March last year.

Pietersen was in virtuoso form, clubbing 31 fours and jumping down the wicket to launch a six off the hapless spinner Xavier Doherty in his chanceless knock.

“It's wonderful to get runs, and it's wonderful to put the team in a position where we can win a Test match in Australia,” he said.

Strong position

“I really do believe we are in a really strong position in this game and to get the team into a position like this and to get the wear into their bowlers again and for a couple of us to go and enjoy ourselves was great.”

Four years ago Pietersen scored 158 and Collingwood 206 in a record stand of 310 in England's first innings 551 for six declared — the tourists were coincidentally on the same total on Sunday against a despairing home attack.

Cook's occupation of the crease earlier ended on 148 in the 97th over when he inside edged paceman Ryan Harris to wicketkeeper Brad Haddin.

The Adelaide crowd rose to their feet to cheer Cook from the field after his 15th Test century and third against Australia.

Cook has now scored 450 runs in the series for two dismissals at an extraordinary average of 225. The Essex left-hander has now occupied the crease for almost 22-and-a-half hours and faced 865 balls in the series.

Collingwood was the other England wicket to fall on Sunday when he was trapped in front lbw by Shane Watson for 42 ending a 101-run stand with Pietersen. Dominant England has now amassed 1,068 runs in its last two innings of the series for the loss of just five wickets.

Lack of ideas

Australia, drained by its second day in the field, looked bereft of ideas to contain England's remorseless run chase with skipper Ricky Ponting attempting to dry up the scoring with some unorthodox field placements.

It was painful exposure to Test cricket for left-arm spinner Doherty, who went wicketless for 120 off his 24 overs in his second Test match, while Doug Bollinger proved expensive at one for 121 off 27 overs.

Keywords: Ashes Test

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