Brett Lee suffers shoulder injury
Australia's preparation for the NatWest Series suffered a further blow when Brett Lee, their strike bowler, injured his shoulder in the warm-up game against Somerset at Taunton, where Australia stunningly failed to defend a target of 342. It was Australia's second successive defeat on the tour, after they were thrashed by England in the Twenty20 fixture at The Rose Bowl.
Lee, who has been Australia's leading wicket-taker in the last two one-day tournaments, was forced to leave the field after bowling just four overs and was sorely missed in the rest of the innings as Sanath Jayasuriya and Graeme Smith plundered the Australian bowlers during their magnificent 197-run opening partnership.
Ricky Ponting, who was visibly angered with his team's performance, felt that Lee's injury was a major concern. "He said the second last ball of his spell that he bowled he felt a really sharp pain in the back of his shoulder," Ponting was quoted as saying in the ABC News website. "I knew something was wrong the last ball of the spell he bowled - I ran straight to him to see how he was and he knew he was in a little bit of trouble then. That's about where it is though - we don't know any more. I think he's going to have scans on it at some stage so we'll know exactly what's wrong."
Though Lee hasn't played a Test since January 2004, his one-day performances over the last few months have been outstanding. However, in the same period, he has picked up 49 wickets in 31 ODIs and even managed to play 13 games on the trot without any injury worries. Before the tour, Lee had said that he had fulfilled the three goals that the selectors had set for him - to stay fit, to take wickets consistently and to bowl as fast as possible - and hoped to force his way into the Test side.