WE’RE COOL ABOUT BE­ING ZERO HEROES Eng­land won’t ob­sess about pos­si­ble white­wash, vows An­der­son

Midweek Sport - - SPORTS - By BOB FLEM­ING

JAMES AN­DER­SON in­sists there is NO smug ban­ter in the Eng­land camp about a 5-0 se­ries white­wash of Aus­tralia.

Hav­ing swept 2-0 ahead with vic­to­ries at Trent Bridge and Lord’s, the talk now is of a clean sweep over the tourists.

But as Old Traf­ford pre­pares to host its first Ashes clash since the mem­o­rable draw of 2005 – when 10th-wicket Aussie pair Brett Lee and Glenn McGrath sur­vived the fi­nal four overs – pace ace An­der­son stressed the hosts were con­cen­trat­ing only on the job in hand.

“It (5-0) is not some­thing we are re­ally fo­cus­ing on,” said the se­ries’ joint lead­ing wicket taker.

“We played re­ally well in the first two games and our job is to im­prove on that.

Ex­cited

“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.”

Burn­ley-born An­der­son, who was 31 yes­ter­day, is play­ing on home turf at Lan­cashire’s county ground and is hop­ing to gain some sort of ad­van­tage from that, whether it be from the pitch or the fans.

“I am very ex­cited about it. I have not played an Ashes Test here be­fore,” he said.

“There have been a few re­quests for tick­ets and hope­fully I can keep ev­ery­one happy.

“I was for­tu­nate to get to one of the days here in 2005 and the at­mos­phere was in­cred­i­ble.

“The ground looks amaz­ing, the re­de­vel­op­ments have made huge im­prove­ments and come Thurs­day it will be an in­cred­i­ble at­mos­phere.

“It is some­thing we are all look­ing for­ward to.

“The whole re­gion is cricket-mad and to get an Ashes Test back is a huge thing for the area.”

Monty Pane­sar has been added to the squad as a sec­ond spin­ner, as the Old Traf­ford wicket has form for favour­ing the slow bowlers.

But An­der­son hopes there is still plenty in the strip for Eng­land’s quick­ies.

Bounce

“It has been renowned for help­ing spin and I pre­sume that is the think­ing with Monty be­ing in the squad,” he said.

“But we like to cover all bases and we have plenty of seam and spin op­tions.

“In the past it has been renowned for be­ing pacy with bounce – but it has changed slightly in the last few years.

“Hope­fully there will be a bit of pace in the pitch, be­cause that is some­thing which has been lack­ing in the first two games for the seam­ers.”

Kevin Pi­etersen took some part in Eng­land’s train­ing ses­sion yes­ter­day as the bats­man bat­tles to prove his fit­ness af­ter pick­ing up a calf in­jury in the last Test.

The 33-year-old has been hav­ing in­ten­sive treat­ment and, af­ter join­ing his team­mates in an ini­tial warm-up, he man­aged to bat in the nets for sev­eral min­utes with pro­tec­tive strap­ping around his in­jury.

He also went through his own ex­er­cise rou­tine be­fore do­ing some jog­ging and shut­tle runs at the edge of the square.

SPIN­NING OP­TION: Pane­sar FIT­NESS BAT­TLE: Pi­etersen

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