OLD Trafford may not have had an Ashes Test this summer, but it will bask in the glory of England’s heroes over the next few days.
Lancashire are pulling out all the stops as they host two sold out Twenty20 internationals between England and Australia, the first on Sunday followed by a second under floodlights on Tuesday night.
The injured Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen won’t be in action, neither will Ashes skippers Andrew Strauss and Ricky Ponting who are both sitting out the games, but 19,000 will be packed into Old Trafford to celebrate the Ashes triumph.
As well as the cricket, Lancashire have organised dancers, DJs, and fireworks, on both days.
The RAF Falcons Parachute Display Team will be in action on Sunday and Britain’s Got Talent runners-up Escala will play at the ground on Tuesday.
"As the Ashes has shown, the entire country is gripped by the rivalry between these two countries and tickets for matches are like hens teeth," said Lancashire commercial director Geoff Durbin.
"We encourage everyone to get to the ground early to soak up the atmosphere, enjoy the pre-match build up and prepare for what will be two fantastic sporting events."
Among the Ashes heroes in action will be Lancashire’s Jimmy Anderson, right, who helped set up the victory with a battling batting performance to save the first Test at Cardiff.
Lancashire coach Peter Moores, who eight months ago was planning to take on the Aussies before being axed as England chief following the Kevin Pietersen saga, has relished seeing two Lancastrians help win the Ashes.
"Jimmy has had a great 24 months because he has learnt to adapt as a swing bowler," said Moores.
"He has added the in-swinger to his out-swinger, which has asked more questions of the batsmen.
"He is one of those go-to bowlers who will never let you down, he has been the heartbeat of the team for the last 18-24 months.
"I have really enjoyed working with Jimmy, but I enjoyed working with them all at England because they are a good set of lads.
"It’s a great send-off for Freddie. To win the Ashes in your last Test match is a fantastic feeling.
"He has battled through with the knee, but he has had a strong influence in the series. He bowled a fantastic spell to win England that first match (at Lord’s). He will sit down and reflect on a great career.
"He can take a moment to enjoy the fact that he has represented his country so well. He’s still going to do that, I think, in the one-day arena from now on."