Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Kevin Pietersen ups the ante with tweet to rile Brisbane hosts

Hitting out: Kevin Pietersen is in a new row before his 100th Test
Hitting out: Kevin Pietersen is in a new row before his 100th Test

Kevin Pietersen has risked offending his Brisbane hosts by demeaning the city which stages the first Ashes Test in a Twitter spat with a journalist.

Pietersen responded, as presumably his provoker intended, after being pictured on the front page of the Brisbane-based Courier Mail walking alone and wearing earphones as England arrived at the airport.

The attendant headline read: "He's so arrogant not even his own team likes him."

After an initial Twitter response claiming front-page treatment will merely boost his ego, sealing his message with a kiss, Pietersen's reaction to a little more goading read: "I would have preferred a Sydney front page tbh.. But I'll take Melbourne! No one has heard of Brisbane outside Oz!"

It remains to be seen, three days before the start of the Ashes at the Gabba, how his remark is received in the Queensland capital.

Meanwhile, banana-fuelled Peter Siddle is out to wreck Pietersen's 100th Test in this week's Ashes opener at the Gabba.

Siddle, returning to the scene of his Test hat-trick against England three years ago, has Pietersen – and opposing captain Alastair Cook – specifically in his sights.

The tireless seamer will ready himself for the task on his daily intake of 20 bananas, as part of the "plant-based" diet the strict vegetarian and his health-conscious girlfriend Anna have devised for themselves.

Asked about the details of his food intake, the 28-year-old said: "It can vary from anywhere between 15 or 20 bananas a day.

"It's fruit-based, and a lot of vegetables. It keeps me healthy and strong."

He is confident it will sustain him through a tough Ashes series, and allow him to spoil England batsman Pietersen's landmark century of Test caps.

"That's the plan," said Siddle. "It'd be nice to have wrecked it before then ... we'll see how we go."

Siddle, who has dismissed Pietersen seven times in 12 Test match meetings, respects him as a world-class opponent – but appears to sense he may yet end up hastening the 33-year-old's retirement on the back of a losing Ashes.

He added: "It's always a tough contest to play against him, a challenge. It's good fun ... I've bowled all right against him, the last couple of times.

"(We want to) keep building that pressure, and try to make it a not very memorable last series for him – if it is his end."

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