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Kevin Pietersen trained on Wednesday to offer hope that England star may be fit to play in third Ashes Test against Australia, which starts on Thursday.
Pietersen injured his calf in the victory at Lord’s in the second Test and has been receiving treatment since in order to try and be fit for the rest of the series.
He was rated as doubtful for the Manchester clash but, after taking a full part in England training on Wednesday morning, there is now real hope that the experienced batsman will be ready to take his place in Alastair Cook’s side.
Pietersen will now be monitored ahead of the game and a final decision is expected to be made on Thursday morning.
Nottinghamshire’s James Taylor is in line to replace Pietersen if he doesn’t make it and he impressed when scoring a century after turning out for Sussex in their tour game with Australia at Hove last week.
England take a 2-0 lead into the Old Trafford Test and know that a draw or win in Manchester will confirm they have retained the Ashes with two more matches still to play this summer.
Seamer James Anderson, however, says the squad is not thinking too far ahead amid claims England have the quality to go on and claim a 5-0 Series whitewash against their old rivals.
He said: “It (5-0) is not something we are really focusing on. We played really well in the first two games and our job is to improve on that.
“It has gone well for us so far. We are very conscious of not getting ahead of ourselves. We have to concentrate on winning this game and not looking too far ahead in the series.”