England v Australia, NatWest Series, Chester-le-Street

Lee takes his leave

ESPNcricinfo presents the plays of the day from the 4th ODI at Chester-le-Street

Daniel Brettig at Chester-le-Street

July 7, 2012

Comments: 21 | Text size: A | A

Brett Lee limped off an English cricket ground possibly for the last time, England v Australia, 4th ODI, Chester-le-Street, July 7, 2012
Brett Lee may have left an English cricket ground for the last time © Getty Images
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Departure of the day

Australia had already lost Shane Watson to injury when Brett Lee pulled up after the second ball of his third over to grab and stretch his right calf. Seemingly unsure whether or not it was cramp, Lee tried to straighten out the kink before attempting to run in and bowl. He did not make it halfway through his run-up before pulling up again, and a concerned Michael Clarke then ran from slip to encourage Lee to take his leave. The Chester-le-Street crowd offered warm applause, and it is just possible that Lee was leaving an English cricket ground for the last time.

Change-up of the day

Sometimes a fuller ball can be used as a surprise tactic, even on a pitch that is crying out for them. Steven Finn succeeded in pushing David Warner back by bowling short of a length in the early overs, often with extravagant movement. There was the odd slightly fuller delivery that Warner played from the crease, before the first ball of Finn's third over arrived faster and further up than the batsman had computed for. Completely on his heels, Warner was plainly lbw, though it took a review of the umpire's original decision to confirm it.

Surprise of the day

Given the firepower at Alastair Cook's disposal, it was hardly expected that the day's most perfect ball was to be delivered by Ravi Bopara. Yet a tacky, seaming surface and slightly damp air afforded Bopara's mediums the ideal setting, and he would use them to confound George Bailey. Angling the ball in towards middle and off to have Bailey shaping to play to the leg side, Bopara zipped it away off the seam to clip the off bail. Bailey has now been bowled five times in as many innings on tour, though never was he as blameless as here.

Introduction of the day

James Pattinson had been straining all tour for a chance to charge in at England's batsmen, but his first delivery was not one to remember. Full at leg stump and neither swinging nor particularly fast, it was summarily dispatched to the backward square leg boundary by Ian Bell. What's more it was a no-ball, offering Bell a free-hit. Pattinson evaded punishment for his transgression with a slower ball that the batsman miscued, but the final ball of the over was not dissimilar to the first, and Bell flicked it wide of mid-on for another boundary.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by The_bowlers_Holding on (July 8, 2012, 9:10 GMT)

If that is the last we see of Lee in England it will be a sad end for someone who's stupid haircut has always annoyed me bit he is both ultra competitive but also a very good sport in the finest Australian traditions. Watto looks like he has been at the pies to me, he is injury prone and this unfortunately will not improve as he ages. The Aussie bowlers seem to be made of glass I agree perhaps it is the pre-occupation witht the 90+mph(lets not use kmh);Pattinson and Cummins already have a history of breaking down I hope they do not have careers cut short.

Posted by   on (July 8, 2012, 6:21 GMT)

australia seemingly unsteady with openers not doing their bit and bowlers getting injured...maybe it is time to try a forrest-wade opening partnertship...australia's new fast bowlers have a greater tendency to illness and they should pick another fast bowler..maybe they left their best fast one day bowler behind...coulter-nile...it might also be time to drop bailey and warner who seemingly are failing badly...

Posted by landl47 on (July 8, 2012, 5:55 GMT)

@Patchmaster: I think it's something to do with the weather.

Posted by Badgerofdoom on (July 8, 2012, 5:45 GMT)

I think Bopara might be a little underused as a bowling option for England, he's taken 146 wickets @26 in list A and has done well in T20s. Bailey might get stick for getting out to Bopara but that ball would have got most batsmen.

Posted by RandyOZ on (July 8, 2012, 4:38 GMT)

@Patchmaster - nice try, but considering you posted that at 2am, I was asleep. Grow and and learn some geography. @TheHoneymonster - agree with all your comments. The selections have been appalling and the recommendations of the Argus review completely and utterly ignored.

Posted by SachinisNogod on (July 8, 2012, 3:57 GMT)

Miserable effort by Australia. I almost know how an Indian fan must feel! Our consolation is we lost to a wonderful England team. No shame in losing to the best.

Posted by Patchmaster on (July 8, 2012, 2:03 GMT)

Has anyone heard from RandyOz ? He was writing all sorts of stuff about AUS being too strong for ENG, and how all four of the AUS bowlers could reach 90mph. I can;t seem to be able to contact him now. Weird.

Posted by   on (July 7, 2012, 23:13 GMT)

Lee was not in top form even in IPL..he was benched....

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (July 7, 2012, 20:51 GMT)

@Nick - The rain couldn't save Australia this time!

Posted by SDHM on (July 7, 2012, 20:00 GMT)

@Landl (again!) - I also agree about Warner. I said the way he played Swann at Lord's and the way he got out to Anderson should have had alarm bells ringing, but seeing as he scored 56, it was kind of brushed under the carpet. He flapped at the short ball at The Oval too (odd for an Aussie batsman), so the weaknesses are beginning to pile up. A year is a long time for him to work on them so he shouldn't be written off by any means, but it doesn't look too good ahead of next year. With Watson, I feel that even though he's a dangerous player, England just don't fear him - they know he's going to get out sooner or later if they just keep plugging away. Basically, Australia need to find some batsmen from somewhere!

Posted by SDHM on (July 7, 2012, 19:50 GMT)

Landl- completely agree about McKay. Aside from Finn, he's been the pick of the bowlers for me in the series, and you'd think his consistent line and length and ability to get a bit of nip from the surface would make him incredibly successful in test cricket. Just look at Vernon Philander's success; he and McKay are similar style bowlers, so who thinks he should be a one day specialist only? I thought Inverarity was meant to come in and stop these odd selection policies, but if anything they're getting muddier. Maybe Australia have just got a bit carried away with out and out pace, like Duncan Fletcher ended up doing towards the end of his England management. It was sad to see Brett Lee limp off - he's always been popular here in England, not just for his bowling and sportsmanship but because he was willing, unlike some, to take a bit of banter as well as join in and give some back!

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (July 7, 2012, 19:40 GMT)

@landl47 (post on July 07 2012, 18:08 PM GMT): McKay's not got a central contract because he's not quick enough. Unless bowlers can bowl above 150 kph, or emulate Shane Warne, they don't get considered. As you can see from this series, it's a wonderful strategy, that should see Australia go very far in all formats...

Posted by MattyP1979 on (July 7, 2012, 19:35 GMT)

Aus will miss Lee, and so will I. Great performer and competitor, a throw back to when Aus wre a good side. Lee has been performing the all rounder role better than Watson I feel in this series and with both abscent I fear the already bare bowling and batting stocks are shrinking to nothing. O well never mind CMON ENG crush them lol. NO.1 lol.

Posted by MattyP1979 on (July 7, 2012, 19:01 GMT)

As a few posts have indicated a pretty damp squib for Eng. Although a cash cow and always good fun to humiliate the Aussies I believe Eng should now rest key players for the upcoming series against a GOOD side that is SA. Aus have problems with injuries, and we could struggle against SA if we pick up too many in the test series. Aus ranking in all fromats looks a little high for me ATM. As for the young guns of Aus...sorry they are not ready yet and if picked for the next ashes series could find their avg's hurt beyond repair.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (July 7, 2012, 18:19 GMT)

James Pattinson is still yet to impress in ODIs the way he did early on in Tests. The batsmen were under little pressure to score here and losing Watson and Lee didn't help either, but bowling conditions were still quite good and both Pattinson and Hilfenhaus failed to trouble the batsmen especially.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (July 7, 2012, 18:17 GMT)

George Bailey is already under some pressure from the fans and being bowled by a bowler of Bopara's stature won't help his cause but that ball could definitely have defeated much better batsmen than Bailey. Peter Forrest is another one under a bit of pressure and not aided by his performance today but also got a very good ball and it's important to remember how little proper preparation he has been afforded on this tour with the weather being as it has.

Posted by landl47 on (July 7, 2012, 18:08 GMT)

Sorry to see Brett Lee leave, but he has started to look his age on this tour. I doubt we'll see him again, but he's been a great performer for Aus and a great entertainer, too. Watson was always an injury waiting to happen. He simply can't bat and bowl effectively in the same game and he's going to continue to hurt himself if he tries. Warner looked completely out of his class against Anderson and Finn and this is in an ODI, not a test. 2 in 19 balls and beaten at least half a dozen times before he was out (Daniel, it was umpire Llong whose decision was corrected, not Erasmus, who had an excellent game). Bopara and McKay, the two medium-pacers, had ideal conditions today and both bowled really well. McKay's got 4 of the 10 wickets bowlers have taken for Aus in the series and been the most economical, too. How come he's the one without the central contract?

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (July 7, 2012, 17:56 GMT)

Pattinson... What a joke his first ball was. Another load of hot air. Meanwhile England, with the genius of Anderson, the lightning quick Finn and skilful Bresnan continue to dominate world cricket and keep their fans smiling.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (July 7, 2012, 17:52 GMT)

I bet the Aussies just wished the rain would have come, and that would've that...

Posted by mikey76 on (July 7, 2012, 17:50 GMT)

Australia so reminiscent of England in the 90's. Absolutely clueless. Suddenly it seems to be coming together for England. Plenty of firepower with Finn to the fore, and Bopara showing what an underrated bowler he is. The batsmen haven't moved out of third gear. Great stuff.

Posted by jackthelad on (July 7, 2012, 17:28 GMT)

With Lee goes the final thread of the great Australia team of the late nineties/ early two thousands. There is not a single current Australian player who could have expected a call-up to that wonder team. Oz will take many many years to climb back.

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Daniel BrettigClose
Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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