Lee ruled out of third ODI against India

NEW DELHI: Australia’s pace spearhead Brett Lee was on Friday ruled out of the third one-day nternational here against India, dealing a further blow to the injury-ravaged tourists in the seven-match series.

Lee, 32, is yet to recover from an elbow injury that forced him to miss the second international at Nagpur. “Lee bowled at the nets in the morning but he seems to be 85 percent fit,” Australian skipper Ricky Ponting told a media conference a day ahead of the match.

“There still are a few concerns over his fitness, so we will give him a couple of days to get back in the groove.”

With the series tied at 1-1, the Australians are down to the bare bones for the day-night encounter at the Ferozeshah Kotla here on Saturday. All-rounder James Hopes (hamstring) and wicketkeeper Tim Paine (finger) have already been ruled out of the match, forcing the visitors to call up New South Wales’ Moises Henriques and South Australian Graham Manou.

“Hopes did bowl at the nets and he is almost OK but we don’t want to take any chances. Manou is young but the good thing is that he has a fair bit of experience, having played in the Ashes against England,” Ponting said. Australia won the first match by four runs, before crashing to a heavy defeat in Nagpur on Wednesday after India piled up a mammoth 354-7 and bowled out the tourists for 255.

Ponting conceded that Lee’s absence had depleted their bowling resources, especially in the crucial final overs. “Injuries cost us a little more than we expected in Nagpur,” Ponting said. “Lee is one guy who bowls well at the death but it also depends on who are you bowling at because a player like (Mahendra Singh) Dhoni can be very dangerous in the last few overs.”

Dhoni, the Indian captain, smashed 124 off 107 balls to set up a spectacular victory for the home side at Nagpur. The fourth match of the series will be played in Mohali on Monday.