'Fascinating': Kevin Pietersen photo sends cricket world into frenzy

Former England pair Kevin Pietersen and Matt Prior have put old disagreements behind them, chatting and shaking hands on the pitch before play began in the third Test in South Africa.

The pair shared a dressing room for many years but their relationship took a bitter turn in 2014 when Prior was pilloried in Pietersen's autobiography as a "backstabber" and mocked for his 'big cheese' nickname.

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Prior was hurt by the depiction, but there was a hint of thawing when the former wicketkeeper retired from cricket the following year and received a tweet of support from Pietersen.

Kevin Pietersen and Matt Prior have buried the hatchet. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

The duo are both acting as summarisers for TalkSport during the third Test at Port Elizabeth and converged in the middle shortly before the toss took place.

They talked cordially for several minutes and shook hands warmly as they parted, with Pietersen later taking to Twitter to share the moment.

Alongside a picture of the pair he wrote: "Lovely to see @MattPrior13 this morning. Bygones! We won some amazing Test matches together and time is a healer."

Prior replied: "Agree totally. I remember the good times - of which there were many - fondly. Onwards!"

Cricket world celebrates brilliant moment

The cricket world erupted over the moment, with former teammate Andrew Flintoff seemingly sickened by the touching display.

Ben Stokes in fine form again

Ben Stokes dug in to help England recover to 4-224 at stumps on the opening day of the crucial third Test in Port Elizabeth.

Allrounder Stokes, crowned world player of the year this week for some scintillating performances with his bat, showed on Thursday he can also play cautiously when required.

England were back in control at the close, having taken the initiative at 0-61 at lunch and then lost it when captain Joe Root fell to leave the tourists 4-148 after tea.

Kevin Pietersen and Matt Prior in 2010. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Stokes was 38 not out off 86 deliveries. He put on 76 with Ollie Pope (39 not out) and the pair also saw off 10 overs of the second new ball right at the end of the day.

"It was very attritional cricket wasn't it?" England opening batsman Zak Crawley asked.

"It was a very good day for us in the end. Popey and Stokesy played brilliantly for us."

The four-match series is level at 1-1 and an England victory in Port Elizabeth would ensure they can't lose the contest and put them in position for a second straight series win in South Africa.

with AAP