Pietersen advocates seasonal sledging

ENGLAND batsman Kevin Pietersen claims he won’t be holding back on the verbals, despite his attempts at sledging backfiring in the third Ashes Test.

Pietersen and James Anderson attempted to get under the skin of the previously wayward Mitchell Johnson in Perth, but the Aussie paceman responded with a devastating spell of hostile swing bowling which ripped the heart out of England’s top order in the first innings.

Johnson subsequently revealed that England’s jibes only served to fire him up, but that won’t prevent Pietersen from stirring things again when hostilities are renewed in Melbourne on Boxing Day.

“I’ve played against Australia I don'’ know how many Test matches – and believe me, the first time I played and the second time I came out here, the likes of Warne and McGrath there were some pretty big verbal contests,” he said.

“I haven’t seen or heard anything different [in Perth] from what’s happened in the first two Tests, let alone last year in England.

“It’s England v Australia, an Ashes series. Blokes get the red mist occasionally; you’re allowed to do that – things happen.

“You’re playing for that little urn. It’s historic; it’s huge. But there’s nothing that's been overboard, and if things go overboard match referees deal with stuff like that. There’s not been anything close to it.”

Johnson’s nine wickets at the WACA were in stark contrast to his none for 170 in the
drawn first Test in Brisbane, and Pietersen admits England were taken aback by his dramatic resurgence.

“He took us by surprise, for sure,” Pietersen admitted.

“He bowled well, really, really well, and had a good game of cricket - and we're going to have to prepare ourselves for that swinging ball.”

THE ALL-ROUNDER | CONDITIONS, STATS AND BANTER

STAT OF THE DAY
If further proof were needed that Kevin Pietersen is an adocate of the ‘attack is the best form of defence’ theory, it comes in the form of this little nugget. KP has attacked more deliveries per balls faced than any other batsmen in this Ashes series. He plays an attacking shot 65 per cent of the time.

KATICH EYES FIFTH TEST
Injured Australia opener Simon Katich has revealed he is set to make a shock return in time for the fifth Ashes Test, increasing the pressure on Phillip Hughes to find form in the Boxing Day meeting in Melbourne. Katich damaged his Achilles tendon during the second Test defeat to England in Adelaide and was initially expected to miss the rest of the summer. But Katich said: “I'm doing all the rehab and pulling up well from the strength work so the physio’s pretty happy with where I’m at and actually thinks I'm ahead of schedule. Normally it takes a couple of months to settle down but it’s settling down pretty quickly.”

"I've been having treatment on it every day for the last few weeks and it's all going really well."