England seamer James Anderson insists the squad are not entertaining thoughts of a 5-0 whitewash over Australia ahead of the third Investec Ashes Test.
Having dominated the series so far with victories at Trent Bridge and Lord’s, the talk now is of a clean sweep over the tourists.
But as Emirates Old Trafford prepares to host its first Ashes clash since the memorable draw of 2005 – when 10th-wicket pair Brett Lee and Glenn McGrath survived the final four overs – 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, celebrating his 31st birthday today. “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.”
With Burnley-born Anderson playing on home turf at Lancashire’s ground he is hoping to gain some sort of advantage, whether it be from the pitch or the fans.
“I am very exited about it. I have not played an Ashes Test here before,” he told a press conference ahead of Thursday’s third Test. “There have been a few requests from 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 and 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 been known to favour the slow bowlers. However, Anderson hopes there is still plenty in the strip for himself and England’s other quicks.
“It has been renowned for helping spin and I presume that is the thinking with him being in the squad but we like to cover all bases,” he said. “We have plenty of seam and spin options and 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.”
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