Lee wary of backlash from old friend Strauss after dismal one-day series

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Strauss has averaged just 11.50 in the four matches he has played against Australia so far this summer and has been snared twice by both Lee and Glenn McGrath.

That record contrasts dismally with his career one-day international average of 39.31, which includes six fifties and two centuries. As an opener his average almost touches 55.

But Lee played with Strauss for three seasons at the Sydney club side Mosman and knows full well the left-hander's class will shine through eventually. He just hopes it is not too soon.

"If I had known back then I'd be playing against him in Test cricket I might have watched his batting a bit more closely," Lee said.

"He is a great friend of mine and a fantastic batsman. Against Australia he hasn't been on his top form. He is very hard on himself to score runs, he sets his standards very high, which is great.

"I am sure he is due for a big score - hopefully, when we have left these shores. But a class player like him is pretty hard to keep tied down. He's always had the talent and always had the shots. He is the type of player who changes to suit the conditions really well.

"He hasn't played his best against Australia in the past couple of matches but I am sure that is not far away at all."

Strauss scored an unbeaten 55 in England's Champions Trophy victory over Australia last summer and Lee will be hoping that kind of touch continues to elude him during the NatWest Challenge one-day series which begins tomorrow at Headingley.

Lee views the three-match series, pigeon-holed in between the triangular tournament and the Ashes, as his last chance to break back into the Australian Test side after a 15-month absence.

Injury and a slump in form have proved costly for Lee since his last Test appearance, in the 2004 New Year's match with India, but he insists "there is nothing more I can do" to convince the selectors.

"In every one-day match I play I make sure I am putting my hand up to play Test-match cricket for Australia. That is where I want to be, that is what I want to play," he said.

"This is almost like a dress rehearsal. I want to take every opportunity to try and play in the Test matches."