Kevin Pietersen claims England are yet to give up hope of winning the third Test of the Ashes at Old Trafford.

The veteran's century (113) guided the hosts to 294-7 at the end of the third day, still 34 runs short of avoiding the follow-on, after Australia posted a massive total of 527 for 7, courtesy of under-fire captain Michael Clarke's 187.

"If we get as close as we can to their score there is no reason why we can't win because we've put a lot of work into their big fast bowlers today. The good thing is that we showed you can score runs on this wicket," Pietersen pointed out.

"We wanted to bat the full day and obviously did not want to lose any wickets. We've gone OK. If we can have a positive day tomorrow then anything can happen. We can get the runs to avoid follow on and even if we don't then we can bat for a good length of time," the 33-year-old added.

After the hosts' skipper Alastair Cook (62) was dismissed with his team struggling at 110 for 4, Pietersen and Ian Bell (60) stood firm and came up a 115-run partnership to steady the ship. Former Australia batsman Damien Martyn hailed Pietersen as one of England's greats and felt innings would prove be crucial to the outcome of this Test.

"For all that's said about Pietersen, on and off the field, he's going to go down as one of England's greats when he retires. He loves the big moments, he's a dangerous player and once he gets going, he's hard to stop. But he played a proper Test match innings today, he left a lot of balls," the Aussie said.

Mitchell Starc was the pick of Asutralian bowlers, with figures of 3-75, dismissing Cook, Pietersen and Jonny Bairstow.

"We know we need to win this Test so it will be a big half an hour first thing on Sunday. We need to take these three wickets as quickly as we can. We need to take the aggressive approach, that's the Australian way. We always going out to win Test matches and this one's no different," Starc stressed.