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Lee struggling for fitness ahead of Edgbaston Test

cricket Updated: Jul 29, 2009 01:15 IST

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The Australian pace bowler Brett Lee is losing his battle to be fit for the third Ashes Test against England at Edgbaston, which starts on Thursday.

Lee was already regarded as doubtful with the side strain that had kept him out of the opening two matches at Cardiff and Lord's, and the vice-captain Michael Clarke has now confirmed that Lee will not have recovered sufficiently in time.

Clarke said: “I don't think that Brett is going to be right for Thursday. He only bowled off three or four steps today in the nets. He's doing plenty of fitness work and is working very hard to get himself right. I am not sure exactly how far away he is but I think he is out of contention for Thursday.”

Clarke was pleasantly surprised when he had his first view of the Edgbaston wicket today as Australia look to bounce back from their defeat at Lord's. “The wicket looks better than we expected. It is quite dry. I would imagine that spin will play a part in this game. I don't think the forecast is great for the rest of the week and I am sure conditions will come into the equation when selecting the side.”

“We know we need to improve with bat and ball and perform at the highest level,” said Clarke, who was guarded about whether Australia, with paceman Mitchell Johnson struggling, would make any changes to their side.