Pietersen notched his first County Championship double hundred since blasting 234 not out against Lancashire in July 2012 – on the eve of Andrew Strauss’ first public address as England’s new cricket director.
Former Test captain Strauss will confront Pietersen’s situation at Lord’s on Tuesday, after stepping into a newly-created figurehead role at the England and Wales Cricket Board.
England will finalise their squad to face New Zealand at Lord’s next week on Thursday, with Pietersen’s imperious knock at The Oval possibly forcing Strauss to review the South Africa-born outcast’s position.
Pietersen started day two of Surrey’s division two Championship clash with Leicestershire on 35, and quickly set about turning that promising start into an innings of real substance.
The 34-year-old secured his first county championship century since June 2013 in the final over before lunch, before marching on confidently after the intermission.
Surrey resumed their first innings on 105 for two at the top of the day, only to lose Kumar Sangakkara, Steven Davies and Jason Roy before lunch.
Pietersen reached his 50th first-class century in the final over before that interval, while the wickets continued to tumble steadily enough around him.
Gary Wilson, Gareth Batty and Tom Curran came and went as the hosts outstripped Leicester’s first-innings total of 292.
Seamer Chris Tremlett was able to occupy the crease long enough to help Pietersen ease to that double ton and dominate the day.
Pietersen was sacked in February 2014 after England’s disastrous Ashes series whitewash in Australia, but managing director Paul Downton’s departure has kick-started a chain of events that could yield an unlikely recall.
England’s off-field unrest has rumbled on unabated, with coach Peter Moores sacked last week and Strauss installed to oversee another overhaul.
Moores’ assistant Paul Farbrace will take control for the two-Test series against New Zealand, with Strauss leading the search for a permanent coach.
Yorkshire coach Jason Gillespie is the early favourite to take the England helm for the summer’s Ashes series, but Pietersen continues to force his way into the limelight.
Incoming ECB chairman Colin Graves hinted Pietersen’s situation could be reviewed before the start of the county season, and the 34-year-old is now making good on his promise to plunder big scores after returning to Surrey.