KP: Relish the challenge of Johnson

Eighty wickets against them might make those in the middle sceptical of that, but according to Pietersen, it is the only way to deal with Johnson's searing pace.

He was back to his best in the second Test at Lord's after a quiet opener in Cardiff, and once again talk is of the 33-year-old having a hold over England.

Exiled batsman Pietersen thinks that is true, but also thinks it can be broken.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, he said: "Johnson has exerted a psychological hold over England's batsman ever since he sorted out his own mental approach to cricket.

"He has learnt to deal with the pressures of the international game much better than when he struggled here in England in 2009. He is twice the bowler he was then.

"It is hard for teams to break that hold, especially when he is in form. But you have to embrace the challenge and ignore defeatist thoughts.

"When you retire from cricket you want to be able to say you scored runs against the best teams in the toughest situations.

"So who cares if he is bowling well? England have to relish the challenge."

Pietersen, who helped England regain the Ashes in 2005 when Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne were at large, believes glory comes from taking on the best.

"It is the time when you can put your head on the pillow as an international batsman and say 'Yes, I am good enough to be here'," he added.

"That is the attitude the batters have to take into this Test, not 'oh no, Johnson is on top of his game'. So what. You want to play against guys at the top of their game."

Pietersen, who agrees with the dropping of Gary Balance, also believes that the inclusion of the in-form Jonny Bairstow will give England a "natural lift" when the third Test starts at Edgbaston on Wednesday.

  Kevin Pietersen, right, has told England to take on Mitchell Johnson
Kevin Pietersen, right, has told England to take on Mitchell Johnson