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Pietersen in doubt for third Ashes Test

  • Story Highlights
  • Kevin Pietersen is battling to be fit for the third Ashes Test at Edgbaston
  • The key England batsman is struggling with his ongoing Achilles problems
  • England also have worries over all-rounder Andrew Flintoff and Graham Onions
  • Australia hope paceman Brett Lee can return from injury this week in tour game
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(CNN) -- England's key batsman Kevin Pietersen is battling to be fit for the third Ashes Test against Australia due to his ongoing Achilles problems.

Kevin Pietersen has voiced fears that his Achilles injury is affecting his impact on the cricket field.

Kevin Pietersen has voiced fears that his Achilles injury is affecting his impact on the cricket field.

The big-hitting Pietersen has been plagued by the injury all year, and admitted during the historic 115-run victory in the second match at Lord's that it was adversely affecting his form.

The 29-year-old will see a specialist this week to determine if he can feature in the next Test, which starts at Edgbaston on July 30.

Coach Andy Flower dismissed reports claiming that former captain Pietersen, who averages just over 50 in Tests, had already been ruled out.

Pietersen made 32 and 44 at Lord's but looked frustrated at being unable to run freely.

"He's been struggling quite badly with that Achilles injury for quite a period of time," Flower told the UK Press Association. "It's an uncomfortable injury to have, especially in a Test match.

"You're always on your feet, if you bat for any period of time you're scampering between the wickets and you feel it all the time, there's no getting away from it.

"It does make life a bit uncomfortable for an athlete to have that sort of injury, but he's going to be reassessed later this week. He's got a couple of people he's going to be talking to and then the experts will make a decision on whether he's OK or not."

Flower also has injury concerns with all-rounder Andrew Flintoff, who is still experiencing knee problems, and seamer Graham Onions, who has an elbow worry.

"Graham got a blow on the shoulder when he was batting," Flower said. "It affected his elbow when he was bowling and as soon as he straightened it he was suffering severe pain.

"He was a doubt to bowl on that last day, but I would imagine with the rest available between the second and third Test he would be fine."

Flintoff took a match-winning 5-92 in the second Test after announcing that this series would be his last in the five-day game due to his long-term injury problems, but it is not certain if he will be fit to play all the remaining matches.

"We will listen to him and what he says about his body, but we also take medical advice from the experts and we've got to take a very simple decision on whether he, like anyone else, is fit enough to contribute fully in a five-day Test match," Flower said.

"If he can do that he'll play and if he can't, he'll acknowledge that. He wouldn't want to let the team down. We've got to make decisions on what's best for him and more importantly, what's best for the side."

Meanwhile, Australia hope that strike bowler Brett Lee will be fit to return from a side injury in the tour match against Northamptonshire starting on Friday.

The 32-year-old's pace was sorely missed in the opening two Tests, with the tourists unable to bowl England out on the final day in the drawn Cardiff match.

"We will see how we go," said coach Tim Nielsen. "The positive thing is that in a tour game we do have the flexibility on how much we can bowl him or how much we don't bowl him.

"He hasn't bowled yet, so we just have to sit with the medical staff over the next few days and chat about how much we need to get into him and whether it is going to progress him to the stage where he could play in the third Test.

"My feeling is, if it is not going to mean he is available to play in the third Test match, we are going to have to be really careful about rushing him back."

Australia have different concerns over opening bowler Mitchell Johnson, who claimed his 100th Test victim at Lord's but his three wickets for the match came at a cost of 200 runs.

The 27-year-old is working with bowling coach Troy Corser, who helped England win the 2005 Ashes series, to try to rediscover his rhythm and accuracy.


"Troy is obviously working really closely with him," Australia captain Ricky Ponting said. "What you don't want to do with youngish blokes -- Mitch is still pretty new to the game and pretty new to fast-bowling really -- is fill his head full with too much.

"We have to be careful of the way we manage him over the next little bit. He's up for the challenge."

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