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Ashes: James Taylor ready if Kevin Pietersen is not fit

Taylor stakes Test claim

James Taylor: In red-hot form with the blade

Nottinghamshire batsman James Taylor is fired up for Ashes duty for the third Test if required in place of injured Kevin Pietersen.

Pietersen remains hopeful of proving his fitness as England, leading 2-0, look to wrap up an early series victory, but coach Andy Flower is taking no chances and Taylor has been brought in as cover.

"I am another year experienced and I have got a shedload more runs behind me"

James Taylor

With the latest battle commencing in Manchester on Thursday, live on Sky Sports, the 23-year-old Taylor will join a 14-man squad this week in buoyant mood after an unbeaten 121 against Australia while guesting for Sussex in the tour match at Hove over the weekend.

Taylor, who has scored 824 runs at an average of 58.85 in the County Championship this summer, told Sky Sports News: "I have had a little taster against Australia and if required I'll be up for it.

"They are obviously quality Test bowlers and they have proved themselves. It was a good tester out there on a decent cricket wicket."

He is happy to accept his role as back-up to Pietersen but is keen for another crack at Test cricket after playing twice without impressing against South Africa last summer.

"I'm delighted to be back in the England squad - one step closer to playing - but we all hope KP is fit and well for the game," Taylor added. "I am in a better space mentally, and probably my game is in a better space, than a year ago.

"I am another year experienced and I have got a shedload more runs behind me."

Pietersen continues to follow a rehabilitation programme after suffering a calf strain in the second Test win at Lord's.

All 11 of the side that played at headquarters are again included but there are two more additions to the squad in paceman Chris Tremlett and spinner Monty Panesar.

Seamers Steven Finn, who was left out of the side after playing the opening match of the series at Trent Bridge, and Graham Onions are dropped.

Tremlett has not played Test cricket for 18 months due to injury problems but has come into the reckoning for what could be a hard surface in Manchester.

Old Trafford's reputation for spin has also endured despite being off the Test rota for three years due to ground redevelopment. Panesar, who has taken 25 wickets in three Tests at the ground, will give England the option of playing a second specialist slow bowler.