Vol. 5 Num 400 Tue. July 12, 2005  

Lee Tests selectors

Brett Lee did his chances of a Test recall no harm at all by taking five wickets as Australia strolled to a seven-wicket one-day international win against England at Lord's here Sunday.

Fast bowler Lee finished with five for 41 as the world champions held England to a modest 223 for eight.

In reply, Australia captain Ricky Ponting made 111 as Australia won with nearly six overs to spare.

But it was man-of-the-match Lee's performance with the ball that set up a victory that saw the world champions level the best of three-game series at 1-1 ahead of Tuesday's Oval decider.

Despite his standing as one of the world's quickest bowlers, Lee hasn't played Test cricket for over a year since appearing against India in Sydney in January last year.

Instead he has been sat on the sidelines while veteran Glenn McGrath, Jason Gillespie and the revitalised Michael Kasprowicz monopolised the three front-line pace spots with Shane Warne and occasionally Stuart MacGill providing spin support.

But in 11 days' time the tourists return to the 'home of cricket' for the first Ashes Test of a five-game campaign.

And Lee could well feature instead of Gillespie whose lacklustre start to the tour continued Sunday with seven wicketless overs costing an expensive 42 runs.

Gillespie's performance was in contrast to that of his fellow seamers who, between them, reduced England to 45 for four in 16 overs after Kasprowicz made the initial breakthrough to get rid of Andrew Strauss.

"It's always great to take early wickets," said Lee, whose figures were the best by an Australian in a one-day international at Lord's, told reporters afterwards.

"On a personal note, I trained very hard yesterday (Saturday) in the nets and worked on some different balls. To take five wickets at Lord's is pretty special."

Lee, who in 37 Tests has taken 139 wickets at a shade over 31 apiece, also starred during the one-dayers during the tour of New Zealand earlier this year only to be omitted from the Test side.

"I was pretty disappointed I missed out but I put that right behind me now. I'm not worried about looking to the future anymore. I'm just focused on what I am doing right now," said the 28-year-old New South Wales quick.

"I'm not looking too far ahead but if I get the call to play in the 1st XI come Lord's on July 21 I'll be over the moon, to say the least."

Ponting added: "I thought he (Lee) bowled as well as I've seen him in the one-day series in New Zealand and unfortunately for him didn't get picked for the Test side.

"But right from the start of this tour he's done everything he can and I know he'll keep doing that. He's bowling fast and he's getting early wickets.

"He works as hard as anybody on his own game. He's giving himself the best chance and that's all he can do."

Ponting said victory had come at an important time on a tour where Australia had already lost two one-dayers against England, including a nine-wicket reverse in Thursday's series opener at Headingley, and suffered the embarrassment of being beaten by minnows Bangladesh during the Triangular tournament.