Injury fears cloud Pietersen, Steve Smith's participation in third Ashes Test

Last Updated: Wed, Jul 31, 2013 04:50 hrs

Star England batsman Kevin Pietersen and his Australian counterpart Steve Smith must reportedly prove their fitness during training on Wednesday if they are to play in the third Ashes Test at Old Trafford.

According to, Pietersen is recovering from a calf strain while all-rounder Smith has sat out training after complaining of a stiff back.

The report further said that Pietersen, who did extra running during training on Tuesday, had appeared to be walking with a limp, however England captain Alastair Cook said that he was pleased that Pietersen made it through the session, although he added that they will have another look at him during training on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Australian team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris has said that he is hopeful that Smith, who has a history of back problems, will be able to play even as the report said that competition for batting places intensify with the return of David Warner to the squad.

However, the report added that Smith must prove his fitness before he is selected for the third Ashes Test, although Kountouris said that even though he was very stiff, he has improved considerably and he expected him to keep on improving.

Kountouris further said that the team is hopeful that Smith will be able to train on Wednesday and be right to play.

Smith scored an unbeaten century in the three-day game against Sussex, which ended in a draw on Sunday, to shore up his place in the Test team, and had claimed four wickets during Australia's 347-run second Test loss at Lord's with his part time leg-spinners, although both he and Phillip Hughes failed with their batting, the report added.

Meanwhile, the report also said that the Old Trafford pitch is already a largely grassless strip and is expected to continue its tradition of helping spin bowling. (ANI)

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