Lee keen to play despite broken foot
Brett Lee has revealed his right foot is still broken and the injury has caused him significant pain throughout the tri-series. However, Lee hopes he won't be the bowler asked to sit out of the match against Sri Lanka at the MCG to accommodate James Pattinson, who is set to make his comeback from a foot injury of his own.
The Australians have a couple of selection decisions to make ahead of the match, which is the last game before the best-of-three finals, for which they have already qualified. Michael Clarke could miss a second successive match due to injury after the national selection manager John Inverarity said a no-risk approach would be taken to the captain's fitness.
And the selectors will also be keen for Pattinson to play before the finals, having not turned out for Australia since the Sydney Test victory over India nearly two months ago. Ben Hilfenhaus and Clint McKay have been in fine form during the series but someone will need to rest if Pattinson is to play, and Lee said he was keen to stay on the field despite his injury.
"It's still broken," Lee said of his foot. "I had an x-ray yesterday but the show must go on. You've got to do these things when you're playing for your country. It's been very painful but I've come back a lot earlier than I probably could have or should have. But you have to do that when you're playing for your country.
"I haven't thought about [not playing on Friday]. Hopefully I've been doing my job and playing some decent cricket. I'm not a selector and I'll never be a selector. I'm just focused on what I'm trying to do, lead the attack. We have got a great squad of players and some serious depth so we'll wait and see what happens tomorrow night."
Lee suffered the injury while stopping a ball with his foot during Australia's Twenty20 against India at the MCG in February and he was originally expected to miss the whole tri-series. But his earlier-than-expected comeback has ensured plenty of depth for Australia's one-day attack, with Ryan Harris now unable to find a place in the squad due to Pattinson's return.
"We've gone through periods when we've been lacking fast bowlers and we've also gone through periods where we've had no fast bowlers around," Lee said. "But now we've got seven or eight guys putting their hand up to play Test cricket and T20 and one-day cricket for Australia. It keeps the options open and keeps the older guys and the younger guys coming through knowing that complacency should never play a part."
Pattinson, 21, has played only two one-day internationals and is looking forward to his first short-format match for Australia at home. By including him in the final stages of this series and in the ODI and T20 squads to tour the West Indies in mid-March, the selectors have limited Pattinson's chances of playing in the longer format ahead of the Caribbean Test series, but he does not believe that will be a problem.
"I've missed two Test matches but I still feel back bowling in the nets now like I haven't really been out of cricket a long time," Pattinson said. "I haven't had to get back into my rhythm and worry about all that sort of stuff, it's come pretty naturally for me. I'm just looking forward now to having a go in the shorter format of the game and then hopefully whatever comes with the longer format. At the moment we're just concentrating on the one-dayers."
And while Pattinson, Lee, Hilfenhaus and McKay is a strong pace line-up, there is little room for error against a Sri Lankan batting order that has made 320 and 283 in the past two matches. Sri Lanka's captain Mahela Jayawardene said his batsmen always enjoyed using the speed of the quicker bowlers against them, contrary to the stereotype that teams from the subcontinent prefer facing spin.
"Everyone says that we don't play quicks that well but I think out of all the countries we manage the best," Jayawardene said. "Our guys bat much better when they've got pace and bounce - we did that in England, we did that in South Africa, and here we've been very consistent."
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here