Ashes Series 2013: England Include Pietersen for Third Test Against Australia

Ben BlackmoreFeatured ColumnistAugust 1, 2013

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 01: Alastair Cook (L) and Kevin Pietersen of England warm up prior to day one of the 3rd Investec Ashes Test match between England and Australia at Old Trafford Cricket Ground on August 1, 2013 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Stu Forster/Getty Images

Kevin Pietersen was declared fit on Thursday morning as England named an unchanged line-up for the third Ashes Test against Australia at Old Trafford.

Pietersen has been receiving intensive treatment on his left calf since the second Test at Lord’s, and he was seen completing a series of physical examinations over the past 48 hours to prove his fitness.

James Taylor, who posted a century as a guest player for Sussex during the weekend’s tour match against Australia, had been on standby but misses out as a result of Pietersen’s availability.

England, currently leading the five-Test encounter 2-0, know they can wrap up a series triumph with victory in Manchester, while a draw would see them retain the Ashes.

The England selectors had just one major tactical decision to make, and it regarded the numbers of spinners deployed on a wicket that tends to turn from day three onwards.

With Graeme Swann a certain starter, fellow spinner Monty Panesar was seen having a long nets session on Wednesday, but it was Tim Bresnan who kept his place in England’s pace attack.

Australia are aiming to halt a run of six straight Test defeats, and opted to recall the controversial figure of David Warner, who was previously suspended for punching England’s Joe Root in a Birmingham bar. Phillip Hughes missed out.

A further change came in the bowling department and was widely expected as Nathan Lyon took over the spin duties from youngster Ashton Agar, who made 98 with the bat on debut but made little impact during either Test with the ball.

Elsewhere, Mitchell Starc replaced the injured James Pattinson in the pace attack.