Ruffling the ego’s feathers
MITCHELL Johnson has revealed how Australia is using Kevin Pietersen’s ultra ego to strangle England’s Ashes defence.
Australia knows it only has to frustrate the enigmatic strokemaker and a wild riposte will follow — providing the gateway to a brittle middle order.
Pietersen (4) has failed three times in reckless fashion this series with his latest downfall casually conceived in the nets before play yesterday.
Pietersen’s nonchalant leg- side flick to George Bailey off Peter Siddle was part of Australia’s best laid plans.
‘‘It was a plan, you know you have to bowl straighter on these wickets and we know he doesn’t like to be tied down,’’ Johnson said. ‘‘We had the field set exactly as we wanted it and the plan came off.’’
Pietersen is firmly entrenched as Siddle’s bunny — dismissed eight times by the Victorian in Tests.
Pietersen should have squirmed with every body blow Johnson’s final victim Monty Panesar (2) absorbed and at the ridicule dished out to party pal Stuart Broad and James Anderson by the bowler.
Pietersen made a rare display of team bonding with Broad in a late night Sunday pub session on arrival in Adelaide but left his comrades exposed with another thoughtless exit yesterday.
If the ego landed in Brisbane it is grounded in Adelaide.
Uptight Pietersen exited for 18 in the first innings at the Gabba while he sacrificed a start (26) with a careless top edge off Johnson to long leg in the second dig of England’s 381-run first Test loss.
Pietersen’s day was illustrated in letting a Warner cut through his legs to the boundary that etched the opener’s half century. His mind doesn’t appear on the job.
It will take a massive ego shift from enigma Pietersen if Australia is to concede four straight Ashes series for the first time since 1890.
Mitchell Johnson stares at James Anderson after dismissing the England fast bowler first ball at the Adelaide Oval yesterday