MANCHESTER (AFP) – England spearhead James Anderson said on Tuesday that the side were focused solely on the job in the hand ahead of the third Ashes Test against Australia and not a 5-0 whitewash.
Ashes-holders England have put themselves in pole position to retain the urn by going 2-0 up in the five-match series with victories at Trent Bridge and Lord's ahead of this week's clash at Lancashire paceman Anderson's Old Trafford home ground.
Only last week Anderson, who turned 31 on Tuesday, said: "We want to win the series 5-0, so we will be doing everything we can in each game to win."
But in his latest remarks, he indicated the best way of achieving a 5-0 sweep -- something England have never managed against arch-rivals Australia -- was to concentrate on one Test at a time.
"It (5-0) is not something we are really focusing on," said Anderson, the series' joint leading wicket taker along with England off-spinner Graeme Swann.
"We played really well in the first two games and our job is to improve on that," Anderson told a news conference at Old Trafford.
"We have to concentrate on winning this game and not looking too far ahead in the series."
When the third Test starts on Thursday it will be the first time Old Trafford -- which shares its name with the nearby Manchester United football ground -- has staged an Ashes match since 2005 when Australia's last-wicket pair of Brett Lee and Glenn McGrath batted out the final four overs of a thrilling draw.
"I am very exited about it. I have not played an Ashes Test here before," said Anderson, who was born in nearby Burnley.
"I was fortunate to get to one of the days here in 2005 and the atmosphere was incredible."
Since 2005, Old Trafford has undergone a ??44 million ($67 million) redevelopment which has seen the pavilion modernised, a conference centre built and, perhaps the most striking change of all, the square turned so that pitches now face north-south rather than east-west axis.
"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," Anderson said.
"The whole region is cricket-mad and to get an Ashes Test back is a huge thing for the area."
However, for all the changes the surface at Old Trafford -- where England off-spinner Jim Laker took a record 19 wickets for 90 runs in the 1956 Ashes Test -- remains helpful to slow bowlers.
Monty Panesar has been added to England's squad as a second spinner but Anderson was understandably keen the pitch should have something in it for himself and the rest of the hosts' faster bowlers.
"It has been renowned for helping spin and I presume that is the thinking with him (Panesar) 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 pacey 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."
Meanwhile Anderson said he had no specific information on Kevin Pietersen's fitness after the batsman suffered a calf injury at Lord's.
England have added the in-form James Taylor to their squad as cover for Pietersen.
"He (Pietersen) has been rehabbing hard and doing everything to get himself fit and we'll keep our fingers crossed," said Anderson.