Kevin Pietersen is in a race against time to be fit after being named in England's 14-man squad  for the third Ashes test at Old Trafford next week.

The England batsmen picked up a calf strain during the comprehensive 347-run win over Australia in the second test at Lord's last week and Nottinghamshire's James Taylor was drafted in to play for Sussex in their tour match against the Australians this weekend with a view of replacing the 33-year-old.

However England are willing to give Pietersen, who fought back from a knee injury in time to feature in the first Ashes test of the summer, as much time as possible to prove his fitness ahead of the potentially decisive game at Old Trafford.

Pietersen is understandably keen to recover in time for the third test which gets underway on Thursday, and has posted a series of videos and pictures of his battle to be fit on his Instagram account.

Should the South African-born batsmen fail in his bid to recover in time Taylor appears ready to step into his sizeable shoes after hitting an impressive century against Australia at Hove earlier today.

The 23-year-old finished on 121 from 342 balls at the end of Sussex's allocated 100 overs as he was confirmed as part of England's 14-man squad.

There were also surprise call-ups for pace bowler Chris Tremlett and spinner Monty Panesar, who come in at the expense of Graham Onions and Steven Finn.

Taylor played two Tests against South Africa last summer, top scoring with 34 as England succumbed to a 2-0 series defeat that meant they sacrificed their number one test ranking. 

However he was then overlooked for the winter tours of India and New Zealand, falling behind the likes of Joe Root and Nick Compton in the pecking order.

Now Taylor could get his chance to prove his worth should Pietersen miss out, with Compton out of favour following his failures against New Zealand, as England look to seal an emphatic series win.

England currently lead the Ashes  2-0 after two tests, and will have the chance to seal the five-match series and claim a third consecutive series win for the first time since 1981 when the action gets underway in Manchester next week.


Australia cricket
Kevin Pietersen
England cricket
The Ashes