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