Kevin Pietersen’s brilliant unbeaten double century gave England a solid foundation on day two of the First test against India – and set the stage for a fascinating series between the top two teams in world cricket.

England skipper Andrew Strauss laid down the challenge to India ahead of this historic 2,000th Test, making his most emphatic statement yet that England are ready to take over their ranking as the best Test side in the world.

And it was the perfect response by Pietersen who hit a magnificent  202 not out at Lord’s as England posted 474-8 declared.

At the end of day three, India’s cricket-crazy gamblers, who bet an unprecedented 2bn rupees (£28m) on whether or not star batsman Sachin Tendulkar scores his 100th international century in the first Test against England, were fearing the worst. Tendulkar, arguably the greatest batsman of all time, was out for 34 when he nicked one from Stuart Broad –  the day’s star performer taking four wickets as  India were dismissed for 286.

With England 193 ahead at the start of day four and aiming to set India a huge target in their final innings, this historic Test is shaping up for exactly the sort of circumstance in which Tendulkar scored his first Test century, all of 21 years ago, when India had to bat out the last day at Old Trafford.