Ashes: England batsman Kevin Pietersen trains ahead of third Test, Alastair Cook hopeful KP will play

Last Updated: 01/08/13 9:57am

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Kevin Pietersen (second left) trains with his England team-mates

Kevin Pietersen (second left) trains with his England team-mates

Sky Bet

England batsman Kevin Pietersen has trained today, further prompting speculation he may be passed fit for the third Ashes Test which begins at Old Trafford on Thursday.

Pietersen injured his calf in the 347-run victory at Lord's in the second Test and has been battling to recover ahead of the game in Manchester.

He will be given as much time as possible to prove his fitness, with a final decision not expected to be made until the morning of the game.

In his captain's press conference at lunchtime today, Alastair Cook reiterated that England are hopeful their star batsman will be fit to play, but everything will depend on how he emerges from pre-match fitness workouts.

"(He is) pretty good. He's come through training the past two days and done everything that's been asked of him," Cook said.

"Clearly we have to make a decision tomorrow morning just in case he pulls up different to that, but we'll see and we're pretty hopeful.

Fingers crossed

"We don't know quite how he'll pull up from today's training, but he's worked incredibly hard with the medical team over the last week to get himself right so fingers crossed he has."

"Clearly we have to make a decision tomorrow morning just in case he pulls up different to that, but we'll see and we're pretty hopeful."
Alastair Cook

Nottinghamshire's James Taylor has been lined up as a possible replacement for Pietersen and he scored a century after turning out for Sussex in their tour game with Australia at Hove last week.

But he may have to wait a little longer for his chance to return to the national side if Pietersen gets the all-clear.

Taylor was dropped by England after averaging just 16 from three innings against South Africa last summer but has been touted as an England regular for the future.

England take a 2-0 lead into the Old Trafford Test, and as Ashes holders, only need to draw the match to retain the Urn.

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