Brett Lee's retirement July 13, 2012

Striking stumps, helmets and sixes

Brett Lee provided cricket fans with plenty of highlights during his 13-year international career. ESPNcricinfo presents a selection of five of Lee's most memorable moments

1999: Rattling Ramesh
There is no bigger stage for an Australia cricketer to make his Test debut than Boxing Day at the MCG. That's where Lee wore the baggy green for the first time, at the age of 23, and was already being spoken of as a bowler with serious pace and menace. When he was given the ball for the first time by captain Steve Waugh, it took him only four deliveries to have an impact. Lee rattled the stumps of S Ramesh, the India opener, with a delivery that angled across him and straightened back to take the inside edge. Ramesh didn't quite know what had struck him. Lee finished the innings with five wickets, and a fine international career was under way.

2002: The fall of Tudor, et al
This was not the first, and certainly not the last, time that Lee struck a batsman on the helmet. But it was arguably the most memorable. Alex Tudor, the England fast bowler, was a more than capable batsman whose best Test score was an unbeaten 99. He wasn't capable, though, of handling a Lee bouncer at the WACA. Tudor misjudged the length of the ball and ducked into it, copping such a blow to the head that he was stretchered from the ground. Plenty of better batsmen also struggled against Lee's short ball. Shivnarine Chanderpaul was knocked out by a Lee bouncer during a 2008 Test and lay flat on the pitch for a period, before he staggered to his feet and went on to score a century. Jacques Kallis was done by the old one-two during the 2005 Boxing Day Test, when he was hit on the helmet trying to hook Lee and was bowled next delivery by an inswinging yorker. And Adam Parore suffered the indignity of being out hit wicket during an ODI in Dunedin in 2000 when a Lee bouncer hit his helmet, which fell off his head and hit the stumps.

2003: An ODI hat-trick
Yes, it was against Kenya, but a hat-trick is a hat-trick. In the fourth over of a World Cup match in Durban, Lee reduced Kenya to 3 for 3 with a display of fast bowling that was simply too good for his opposition. He was fortunate to take the first of the three wickets, when Kennedy Otieno tried to leave a rising delivery outside off stump, only for the ball to ricochet off his elbow onto the stumps. Otieno went down writhing in pain, and as was always the case in such situations, Lee was the first man on the scene to check if the batsman was okay. The next ball was edged to slip by Brijal Patel, and the third was a fast yorker that whizzed under the bat of David Obuya and broke the stumps.

2005: A batsman vanquished
Not all of Lee's most defining moments came as a bowler. Arguably the most famous image of Lee is that of him squatting on his haunches being consoled by Andrew Flintoff at the end of the 2005 Edgbaston Test, one of the most famous matches in modern Ashes history. Australia began the fourth morning at 175 for 8, needing another 107 for victory. It appeared to be a hopeless situation. But Lee and Shane Warne, and then Lee and Michael Kasprowicz batted, and batted, and batted, and pushed Australia to within sight of what would have been an incredible win. Except that it wasn't. Only three runs remained for victory when Steve Harmison caught the glove of Kasprowicz and the ball looped to the wicketkeeper Geraint Jones. Lee remained unbeaten on 43. In his retirement speech, Lee reserved special mention for this Test.

"That's still one of my favourite Test matches to play in because of the way it was played, [in] the spirit of the game," Lee said. "You don't always have to get a five-for or a hundred for it to be a wonderful match."

2005: A ball that vanished
A happier batting memory came later that year, when Lee struck what can only be described as one of the biggest sixes in Australian cricket history. It came in a Gabba Test against West Indies, when Daren Powell put a ball right in the slot for a monstrous pull from Lee. The connection of bat on willow echoed around the ground and players, spectators and commentators seemed uncertain of exactly where the ball had ended up. The answer was over the grandstand and, as Wisden reported, the ball "landed near the feet of Carl Rackemann, the former Test fast bowler, shortly after he had passed through the turnstiles with his wife and young daughter". There were no half measures with Lee, whether bowling or batting.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here