Coach - Lee in contention

Paceman could make return at the Oval

Last Updated: 17/08/09 6:44pm

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Lee: proved recovery from side strain against Lions

Lee: proved recovery from side strain against Lions

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Brett Lee has bowled his way into the frame for the Ashes decider, Australia coach Tim Nielsen confirmed on Monday.

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"The team that played so well at Headingley has obviously given us a real quandary."
Tim Nielsen Quotes of the week

The New South Wales fast bowler has not featured in the first four matches of the series due to a side strain but made a successful comeback in the two-day tour match against the England Lions at Canterbury.

Australia won the single-innings contest by 103 runs with Lee claiming figures of 3-37 as the Lions crashed to 237 all out on Sunday.

The tourists are pondering the make-up of their bowling attack for the Oval with off-spinner Nathan Hauritz widely expected to replace seamer Stuart Clark.

Clark was part of Australia's all-pace attack during the innings victory at Headingley in the fourth Test.

Conditions at the Oval usually encourage reverse swing and Nielsen said that could prompt a surprise return to the line-up for Lee, although it is unclear who he would replace.

"I think if reverse swing came into it, he would very much come into it," Nielsen said.

Dry surface

"I have not been out to the middle to have a look but traditionally it has been a surface or a dryer surface that does have bounce and a bit of carry.

"Those sort of conditions can help the ball get scuffed up which we know then can make it reverse.

"I think that when that is happening that Brett is as good an exponent as anyone in the world.

"So as long as he is fit and gets through the next few days and we have a look at the conditions and, if they suit, he will very much come into contention to play.

"The team that played so well at Headingley has obviously given us a real quandary.

"But to be able to go into a Test pretty well with our full squad available and playing well is a nice position to be in."

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