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KP revelling in Ashes banter

CRICKET: Kevin Pietersen is revelling in the banter between himself and his Brisbane hosts – because the verbal jousting is all part of the Ashes experience he loves.

England's South Africa-born batsman arrived in town with his teammates two days ago to prepare for the first Test on Thursday and, on the brink of his 100th Test cap for his adopted country, has no beef with a partisan media doing its best to unsettle him.

Today, the baiting took the form of a mocked-up picture – in pride of place on the front page of the Courier Mail – of him wearing full Queensland-branded regalia and curly purple wig.

"I actually respect the Australian journalists for the way they come at our positions," said Pietersen. "I think it's fantastic. I've had it for however many years, and know when I walk out the Gabba is going to clout me.

"It's brilliant. That's what Ashes cricket is about. I think today I'm on (the front page) as well. They've dressed me up as something ... Sydney tomorrow!"



GOLF: Australia's Jason Day will compete in this week's World Cup in Melbourne despite learning that eight relatives, including his grandmother, have died in Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

Day's mother Dening, who migrated to Australia from the Philippines three decades ago, said her son had been told of the tragedies but she was yet to speak to him. "My daughter has been updating him, but I don't want to bother him because he has commitments," she said.

"There will be plenty of time to talk after (the World Cup)."



FORMULA 1: Fernando Alonso is confident he will be in better shape for this weekend's Brazilian Grand Prix after enduring a painful, tiring and stressful time in the United States.

Alonso put himself through the pain barrier in America after jarring his back a fortnight earlier in Abu Dhabi, hitting the track with a force of 26g after bouncing over a kerb. Despite that the 32-year-old Spaniard still managed to finish fifth. "I'll be okay for Brazil. With a few days to relax I should be even better," said Alonso.



DOPING: Former UCI president Hein Verbruggen has questioned Lance Armstrong's credibility after the American rider implicated the Dutchman in covering up doping at the 1999 Tour de France.

In a text message to a Dutch TV network, Verbruggen wrote: "Since when do people believe Lance Armstrong?".