The 34-year-old made a bold statement at The Parks on Sunday as he attempts to force his way back into the England reckoning with a superb 149-ball innings that featured 24 fours and two sixes.
He was finally dismissed after 209 minutes at the crease when he lofted a delivery from Abidine Sakande to Jack McIver at mid-on in the closing stages of the afternoon session.??
Pietersen reached a century for the first time??in any form of the game since the Old Trafford??Ashes Test in August 2013 when??he took his score to 102 from 110 balls with the 14th four of his knock off the bowling of Matt Hughes.
He had gradually quickened the pace after passing 50 off his 53rd ball and he went to town after reaching three figures with 10 of his fours and both maximums coming after that.
Surrey were indebted to Pietersen’s contribution after making a disappointing start to the three-day game, with the batsman coming to the crease at 31-2 in the 10th over.
England’s leading run-scorer moved off the mark on his eighth delivery and hit his first boundary after 31 balls.
However, he struggled for support and saw the dismissals of Vikram Solanki, Steven Davis and Jason Roy as Surrey reached lunch on 122-5, with Pietersen unbeaten on 47.
But he found a willing partner in Gary Wilson and the pair put on 203 runs in 29.4 overs for the sixth wicket in a lively afternoon session, although their progress was temporarily slowed when a dog ran across the??field.
Pietersen has played exclusively Twenty20 cricket in various leagues around the world since being axed by England following the humiliating Ashes whitewash defeat last year.
His last first-class match was in January 2014, when Australia completed a 5-0 thrashing of England in Sydney, and his prior most recent appearance for Surrey was in the LV= County Championship in June 2013.
The pre-season warm-up lacked first-class status, but Pietersen’s inclusion in Surrey’s line-up attracted several hundred spectators and a number of photographers’ long lenses.
Pietersen has given up a deal with Indian Premier League side Sunrisers Hyderabad in order to come back to Surrey as he bids to add to his 104 Test caps with England.