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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 July, 2005, 12:48 GMT 13:48 UK
Australia are bullies - Pietersen
Kevin Pietersen pictured during England training ahead of the first Test
Pietersen will make his long-awaited Test debut on Thursday

New England batsman Kevin Pietersen has labelled the Australians "bullies" ahead of the Ashes series, which starts on Thursday at Lord's.

"It's stating the obvious, I think, that they come across here to try to bully and just take over," he said.

"We've seen how good they are in the last two one-dayers so we're not going to say we're going to nail them, but we're going to stand up and be counted.

"We're going to fight and we'll do everything we can to beat them."

Pietersen's comments come in the wake of Australian opening bowler Glenn McGrath revealing that the tourists have a plan to deal with the England newcomer.

"We have seen a few things in the last few weeks to enable us to make a plan up of how to bowl to him that we think will be successful," said the veteran Aussie paceman.

Pietersen, who will make his Test debut on Thursday, has become a fixture in the England one-day team over the past six months but has had to wait his turn before being handed a Test berth.

It's going to be 25 days of competitive cricket and we're going to have to have to play consistently well over the 25 days to do the job
England debutant Kevin Pietersen

"I'm pretty excited," he told BBC Radio Five Live. "It's something I've looked forward to, and something I'm going to enjoy - if I can't enjoy it then there's no point in doing it."

South Africa-born Pietersen is a Hampshire team-mate of Australia leg-spinner Shane Warne, who is the leading wicket-taker in the history of Test cricket.

Despite being on opposite sides of the Ashes contest, they remain great friends and Pietersen revealed they are still in touch as the battle draws near.

"Warney's been fantastic, I've spoken to him every single day," said Pietersen.

"I spoke to him last night for about an hour. He wishes me well and he says to me 'this is Test cricket, this is the big stuff'.

"He'll be trying to get me out and I'll be trying to make sure he doesn't get me out.

"It'll be good having a bloke who I can call a friend on the cricket field with me."

If England are to win the Ashes for the first time in nine series then they will have to perform at the highest level throughout, a point readily acknowledged by Pietersen.

"It's going to be 25 days of competitive cricket and we're going to have to have to play consistently well over the 25 days to do the job," he said.

England swing bowler Matthew Hoggard believes Australia could struggle to take all 20 wickets in a match.

Australia's bowling attack is very experienced but ageing, with both Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne now 35.

"They're getting on a little bit. We've got back-to-back Tests and we'll have to see if they can put in consistent performances for 25 days," he said.

"It'll be interesting to see if they've the firepower to bowl us out twice."

News conference: Kevin Pietersen

News conference: Steve Harmison

Interview: Matthew Hayden


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