Lee aims at 100 mph after routing England
Brett Lee believes he can be bowling around the 100mph mark after ripping through England's fragile one-day batting line-up in spectacular style at Lord's.cricket Updated: Sep 13, 2009 11:06 IST
Brett Lee believes he can be bowling around the 100 mph mark after ripping through England's fragile one-day batting line-up in spectacular style in London at Lord's.
Experienced fast bowler Lee marked his 178th one-day international by taking five wickets for 49 runs as Australia won by six wickets on Saturday to go an unbeatable 4-0 up in the seven-match series.
"I want to keep increasing my speed as I have during this series, starting off 88mph and working up to 96mph," Lee told reporters.
"There's no reason I can't go faster, but at the end of the day if you bowl 98mph and spray them everywhere it's not very effective.
"There's a happy medium, but I'd like to see my pace keep increasing and pushing 100 mph.
"There's always talk about your age but I'm feeling really fit, probably the fittest I've ever felt. I'm only 32 and I want to keep bowling in excess of 90mph for a long time yet."
Lee's ninth limited overs 'five for', and second at Lord's after his five for 41 at the 'home of cricket' in 2005, helped Australia bowl England out for just 220 with only Ashes-winning captain Andrew Strauss, who for the second match in a row made 63, offering meaningful resistance.
World champions Australia then cruised to victory, finishing on 221 for three with more than six overs to spare.
Australia captain Ricky Ponting made 48 on his return after a post-Ashes break but it was his heir apparent, Michael Clarke, who led the team home with an unbeaten 62.
But all eyes at Lord's were on man-of-the-match Lee, who produced a succession of rapid yorkers, some over 93mph, to clean bowl Matt Prior, Luke Wright and Adil Rashid in a 10-over spell that also saw Joe Denly caught in the slips and Stuart Broad's stumps knocked over.
"There's a big difference between bowling in the nets and in Test cricket than bowling in one-day cricket," explained Lee, who before this tour hadn't played a limited overs international since July 2008, against the West Indies in St Kitts, after being ruled out with first foot and then heel injuries.
"It's a different format and when the ball is tailing back into a right-hander, the yorker is a weapon I've always enjoyed bowling with. There are days when you land it and days went you don't.
"If you can get one through the defences and see stumps flying, that's why I keep playing cricket. There's no better feeling," he added ahead of Tuesday's clash at Trent Bridge.
It was a reminder to Australia fans of what might have been during the Ashes, where Lee didn't play a single Test after missing the series opener with a side strain and not being selected when he'd regained fitness.
"I don't think it makes up for what's happened in the Test series," Lee said. "It certainly brings a smile to my face, put it that way. I've left the Ashes behind me now, I have dealt with that and moved on.
"The only thing I can try and do is take wickets in one-day matches to prove I can play Test cricket again."
For Strauss, this defeat represented a familiar story.
"Our batting unit hasn't fired for four games," he said. "The batting group has got to be better. It's as simple as that.
"The thing you want to avoid is getting more and more negative and more and more hesitant."
Strauss took no consolation from his own form, adding: "I'm doing relatively well but I'm as culpable as anyone. Getting out for 60-odd is no good.
Turning to Lee, Strauss said: "If a guy's bowling 95mph yorkers, it's hard work. I thought it was a sensational spell."
Soon after the match was over, the ball with which Lee had done so much damage was on display in the Lord's Museum.
"To take a five-for at Lord's is something that is a very, very special part of my cricketing life so far," Lee said.
"I don't play for that factor of the game but when they asked for it (the ball) straight away to be put on lend for 12 months I said, 'well if I can get it back after 12 months, definitely'."