Injury problems ensure that Pietersen takes no chances

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Kevin Pietersen says he is working hard on his fitness ahead of the Ashes series with Australia to ward off any danger of suffering a “break down” as he continues to come back to his best after injury.

Although the England batsman believes his niggling knee problems are now behind him, he is wary of the stresses and strains that lie ahead as Alastair Cook’s men bid to retain the Ashes Down Under.

“I’m just working on my legs, trying to make sure my legs hold up,” said Pietersen.

“I’ve obviously had a knee issue so I’ve just got to make sure my rehab continues or else I could break down and I don’t want to break down.

“I want to play the whole series, an exciting series.”

The 33-year-old had been troubled by the knee injury for some time but elected against surgery earlier this year in favour of an intensive rehabilitation programme. If Pietersen is fit for the first Test in Brisbane, which starts on November 21, it will be his 100th appearance for England in the longest form of the game.

Rain prevented England openers Alastair Cook and Michael Carberry adding to their triple-century opening stand against Australia A at the Bellerive Oval as the second day’s play was washed out.

Cook (154no) and Carberry (153no) batted throughout day one as England closed on 318 without loss. But prospects of significant further progress were compromised on Thursday as forecast rain swept in.

Play was finally abandoned for the day following a 4pm inspection, and a bad forecast for today suggests further frustration.

Australia batsman David Warner, meanwhile, continued his spectacular resurgence in form yesterday with a swashbuckling century for New South Wales in their Sheffield Shield clash with Victoria at the MCG.

The 27-year-old opener reached triple figures in just 84 balls, with 60 of his runs coming in boundaries.

Warner looked set for a huge score against the Bushrangers, but, after racking up his 16th four just two balls after bringing up his ton, he went for one big shot too many and was snared by Scott Boland.

Warner attempted to pull a short Boland delivery but only succeeded in sending it down Peter Siddle’s throat at mid-on to be dismissed for a whirlwind 104 off only 87 deliveries.

The entertaining knock came hot on the heels of his scintillating Ryobi Cup form, which saw him hit three centuries including 197 against Victoria in the elimination final.

The purple patch serves as a dramatic change in fortunes for Warner, who had a miserable Ashes series after being suspended for punching Yorkshire and England Joe Root at a Birmingham nightclub.