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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 August, 2005, 09:06 GMT 10:06 UK
McGrath and Lee picked for Test
Glenn McGrath practises at Old Trafford

Third Test, Old Trafford: England v Australia

  • Match starts 1030 BST Thursday
  • Listen live on Test Match Special, Five Live Sports Extra and this website
  • Australia's Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee both lined up for Australia after passing fitness tests ahead of the third Ashes Test at Old Trafford.

    McGrath tore ankle ligaments a week ago and was initially on crutches but was able to bowl in practice on Wednesday without any discomfort.

    The seamer's inclusion is a massive boost for the tourists, who also have Lee back after a knee infection.

    England go into battle having narrowly squared the series 1-1 at Edgbaston.

    Skipper Michael Vaughan's side have no injury doubts and they decided on an unchanged XI, meaning Chris Tremlett misses out again.

    The pitch in Manchester is expected to be hard and bouncy on the opening days before taking spin.

    Lee and McGrath's inclusion in the team means Australia will not require uncapped duo Shaun Tait and Stuart Clark and Mike Kasprowicz has been dropped.

    Spinner Shane Warne is one wicket away from becoming the first cricketer ever to take 600 Test victims.

    England's memorable win in Birmingham has them targeting a first Ashes series win since 1986/7.

    But Vaughan said: "I won't really try to complicate things.

    "If I start talking about what a massive game this is you get confused about the situation.

    Shane Warne
    Warne will be targeting his 600th Test wicket in the third Test

    "We tried to play in an instinctive manner at Edgbaston. For a young team, playing on instinct is always better than playing under pressure."

    England won the second Test at Edgbaston by just two runs after dominating a match that was brilliant throughout. It was England's first win in a 'live' Ashes Test since 1997.

    Old Trafford will do well to match the excitement there.

    But either way, this third Test has been lent a huge sense of occasion and there is frenzied anticipation around the country of what could happen now.

    How much spin the wicket takes is another vital factor.

    Old Trafford authorities insist it will not turn excessively for Warne who returns to the ground which in 1993 shot him to stardom with the 'ball of the century' to Mike Gatting.

    England chose not to add a second spinner to their squad, which also suggests they are not overly concerned about any spin on offer.

    The groundstaff were eager to get the covers off the wicket soon after morning drizzle on Wednesday.

    It still had a green tinge to it which may offer some movement first thing on Thursday but both captains agreed there could be big runs on offer.

    The weather forecast is pretty good for the match - a mixture of isolated showers and sunny intervals.

    Vaughan said he was hoping to end a personal run of poor form while Ponting said his batsmen had not yet fired as a unit.

    "England are a good bowling attack and at different times in this series they have had us under pressure," said the Aussie skipper.

    "We have to respond to that. Scoring just 600 runs over our two innings in the last Test was a bit disappointing."

    News conference: England captain Michael Vaughan

    Interview: Australia captain Ricky Ponting

    Interview: Old Trafford groundsman Peter Marron


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