James Anderson is relishing the prospect of playing an Ashes Test on his home ground for the first time.
Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen are the only current England players to have experienced a Test against Australia in Manchester, the middle-order batsmen having featured in the thrilling draw of 2005.
Although Anderson was very much on England’s radar at that time – he had already earned 12 Test caps and was brought into the squad for the series finale at the Oval but did not feature – his only five-day matches at Old Trafford to date have been against West Indies, New Zealand and Bangladesh.
With that in mind, it is hardly surprising to hear the paceman, who turns 31 two days before the third Investec Test begins, talk enthusiastically about facing Australia at his county’s redeveloped home.
“It’s always nice to play at your home ground and there’s not been a Test there for a couple of years,” Anderson told ecb.co.uk.
“There’s not been an Ashes Test there since 2005 so there’s going to be a great atmosphere. It always is at Old Trafford so I’m really looking forward to it.”
Anderson’s first taste of Ashes cricket at Old Trafford could yet prove extra-special.
England will retain the little urn if they avoid defeat and win the series outright should they follow up victories at Trent Bridge and Lord’s with another triumph.
Despite their strong position – and dominant display last week – Anderson is keen to guard against complacency.
“We knew we had to start well in such a big series. We’ve had a great start, but there’s a long way to go,” he warned.
“The Aussies are very competitive; we’ve seen that in this series so far and we know they’re going to come back strong at Old Trafford.
“It’s our job to re-set now and almost treat the next three games as a three-match series.”
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