Lee papers over cracks in Aussie attack

Australia 358 England Lions 302-6

No worries, mate? While it may be too early to appoint Steve Harmison prophet of the year, Australia clearly do have a few problems, and precious little time left to sort them out, ahead of next week's first Test in Cardiff.

Harmison's Wednesday night comment, that these Aussies do not appear "as confident and brash as normal", can no longer be applied to Brett Lee, who looked exceedingly pleased with himself – and rightly so – after producing a magnificent spell of fast bowling with an ageing ball yesterday to cut the England Lions down to size.

Having narrowly failed to break through with the new 'un, Lee instantly found reverse swing when he returned to the attack in the 44th over. In the space of 40 deliveries, either side of tea, the 32-year-old took five wickets for 21 runs, thereby ending any possible argument about his right to a place in next Wednesday's Ashes line-up. The bad news for Australia is that by the time Lee entered his purple patch, the opposition were 172 for 0 with no one else having looked menacing on a slow pitch while openers Stephen Moore and Joe Denly were enjoying themselves in the sun.

Mitchell Johnson is a certainty for Sophia Gardens. But the left-arm quickie, who became Australia's 'enforcer' while Lee spent the first half of this year recovering from ankle surgery, disappointed yesterday and went for 101 runs in 20 overs without success. Rested for last week's opening tour match against Sussex, at Hove, Johnson quickly clocked in at nearly 90mph, his powerful action more than making up for an ambling run. But whereas Lee could have won a first ball lbw decision against Moore and also hit Denly on the shoulder with a rapid bouncer, the man who broke Graeme Smith's hand twice during last winter's back-to-back series against South Africa was regularly driven by the two Lions.

Johnson's record – 94 wickets in 21 Tests at 28 runs apiece – suggests he will get it right sooner rather than later. But what of seamer Stuart Clark and solitary specialist spinner Nathan Hauritz, who appear to be contesting the last place in Cardiff?

Clark has happy memories of bowling against England, having taken 26 wickets during the whitewash series. He is on his way back from elbow surgery, however, and seldom threatened to get on a wicket-taking roll yesterday. And then there is Hauritz, who has already become a target for the jeer boys on this trip. Moore and Denly were soon advancing down the pitch and driving him much as they pleased. It could be a long tour for the spinner.

No one wanted to take any liberties with Lee yesterday, especially once the ball began reversing. Denly suffered first and then Ian Bell was pinned in front, first ball, by a booming inswinger. Vikram Solanki just survived the hat-trick delivery, only to be bowled off his pads soon after, Moore's innings ended with a top-edged pull – well caught on the run by keeper Brad Haddin, who had missed a one-hander off Clark's bowling when the opener was 41 – and Eoin Morgan fell to another full length delivery.

Steven Davies and Adil Rashid stopped the rot, piling on the agony for Hauritz in the process. But a spinner separated them in the end – part-time offy Marcus North persuading Davies to dab one to slip.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project