England warned about 'determined' Lee

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The Independent Online

Michael Clarke has warned England that fit again Brett Lee is determined to put his summer of disappointment behind him by guiding Australia to victory in the one-day international series.

Lee was instrumental in causing England's downfall in the 2006-07 Ashes whitewash down under, but a rib injury prevented him from taking part in the tourists' unsuccessful bid to hold on to the famous urn this summer.

Lee announced his return to action by taking two wickets in Australia's first game since their Ashes loss - a 189-run win over Scotland a week ago.

The 32-year-old then removed England opener Joe Denly with a fierce bouncer to end up with figures of one for three in the first abandoned Twenty20 at Old Trafford on Sunday.

His impressive performances in the practice games mean he is likely to spearhead the Australia attack along with Mitchell Johnson, Ben Hilfenhaus and Dirk Nannes in today's day-night match.

"He looked sharp in the Twenty20s and he has been pretty sharp in the nets as well," Clarke said of Lee.

"He's as good as I've seen him. He's training as hard as I have seen him train and he certainly has the hunger so I'm certain he will have a really good one-day series."

Hostilities between the two sides will resume this afternoon just over two weeks after England clinched a 2-1 series win at the home of Surrey.

Clarke admits the tourists are still reeling from the Test defeat to England, but believes the ODI series gives Australia the perfect chance to build some momentum ahead of the ICC Champions Trophy, which begins in South Africa later this month.

"This is a huge series for us. We really want to do well," the 28-year-old said.

"We didn't win the Test series. We have seven ODIs here so we have to try and win this series to take some positives from this English tour and build that momentum and success leading up to a big ODI tournament in the ICC Champions Trophy.

"What I have been trying to express to the team is that every game is very important.

"We want to perform and win every game we play. That's how you build momentum.

"How you experience team bonding and team success is by getting wins under your belt and we have a great opportunity to do that here."

Clarke will lead Australia into the series in the absence of regular captain Ricky Ponting, who has gone home to rest with his family.

The 34-year-old will return for the fourth ODI at Lord's on September 12.

Clarke has been touted as a possible successor to the opener, but he insists his sole focus is on the short-term goal of winning the series after the disappointment of losing the Ashes, and not on taking over Ponting's role.

"I have no doubt that Rick (Ponting) is our leader and I look forward to having him back," he said.