England captain Alastair Cook is optimistic Kevin Pietersen will be fit for the third Ashes Test against Australia at Old Trafford despite receiving lengthy treatment for a calf injury.

Pietersen sat out the fourth day of the second Test at Lord's with the injury and has been undergoing regular treatment in a bid to prove his fitness ahead of the third Test.

The 33 year old trained away from the England team on Tuesday but was involved in batting practice, raising hopes over his involvement in the third Test starting on Thursday.

"He has gone through training in the last two days and done everything we have asked of him," said Cook. "We have to make that decision tomorrow morning but we are pretty hopeful.

"If it flares up during a match, then it leaves you disadvantaged. You're either injured or you are not."

After losing the first two Tests, Australia face the daunting task of staging the first comeback in an Ashes series from 2-0 down since 1936/37.

England's players have been quick to dismiss suggestions they could complete a 5-0 whitewash of the Australians this summer and Cook is cautious of looking too far ahead.

"The first Test at Trent Bridge was extremely close and we played well at Lord's and it was a big victory, but it has been a tough series for us," added Cook.

"We are expecting a tough match again and Australia have got very good players.

"One of the strengths of this side is that we break down things into as small a piece as we can.

"We are not going to look too far ahead - if you do then you could end up in trouble. We're only concentrating on this Test - not on what has gone before and not on what is going to happen after.

"It's dangerous to start thinking of a 5-0. We are a very good side but we take games one step at a time. It's all about getting us ready for the battle ahead and that's the only thing that's important."

Coach Andy Flower and Cook have a selection dilemma ahead of the third Test having called in James Taylor to cover for Pietersen, as well as spinner Monty Panesar and seamer Chris Tremlett - with Steven Finn missing out.

England haven't lost at Old Trafford for 12 years and have won the last six Tests at the newly-furnished ground and Cook is hoping for more good fortune this week.

"It's a good cricket wicket," the skipper stated. "Since the remodelling of the pitch it might have lost a little bit of that Old Trafford pace that used to be here.

"But it is a great place and with the new development it is looking very nice. We usually get the break of the ball here and hopefully that can help us again this week."