Lee’s comeback unlikely

NORTHAMPTON: Brett Lee’s hopes of featuring in next week’s third Ashes Test at Edgbaston suffered a major blow today as the injury-plagued pace bowler was ruled out of Australia’s tour match against Northamptonshire.

Lee has been sidelined for the first two Tests against England after injuring his side in Australia’s final warm-up match against the England Lions at the start of this month. With Australia trailing 1-0 in the series, the tourists had hoped to include Lee against Northamptonshire to prove his fitness for the Edgbaston clash. But he was restricted to stretching and jogging exercises today, while his team-mates prepared in earnest in the nets to face their hosts in a three-day match starting on Friday.

Mike Hussey, standing in as captain against his old county, later confirmed that Lee will not be playing. An Australia team spokesman declined to confirm Lee’s unavailability in Northampton definitely rules him out of an imminent Test return.