Nasser Hussain, the former England captain, has suggested that Brett Lee's return to the Test squad for the Ashes would add fire to an ageing bowling line-up. Lee, who hasn't played a Test since January 2004 , returned after a shoulder injury in the NatWest Series.
"I think that Brett Lee would add something to any side, to be honest," Hussain was quoted as saying in the Sydney Morning Herald. "Looking from a distance, even before this last week happened and the bowlers looked to have lost a yard of pace, as an Englishman I was quite pleased to see Brett wasn't part of the Test side in New Zealand."
Hussain further compared Australia's performance in the current series, where the bowlers have struggled to make an impact, to a similar beginning in the 1997 Ashes series. "If I were Australia I wouldn't be panicking too much because the same thing happened in 1997," Hussain explained. "In '97, Glenn was struggling with his rhythm, Gillespie was injured; it just takes something to click and it clicked for Glenn at Lord's and he turned everything around. You can do that at 27 - whether you can do it at 35 I'm not so sure."
Australia got off to a worst possible start to their Ashes campaign losing four successive matches. However, they registered their first win in the NatWest series with a 57 runs win over England.
"At the moment, what they are missing is what Australia has had for so many years - a bowling attack that everyone has been in envy of. From looking at them so far, it could be they're struggling to find rhythm, they could be a bit undercooked or they could be feeling their age. You can rectify the first two, but I don't think you can fight age."
Speaking about their batting, Hussain added, "Australia's batting is fine. The only question is, and I'm sure the selectors are looking at it ... They've been expert at retiring off batsmen when they are still playing well and getting new guys in, but have they done the same with their bowlers? Are they all going to come to a shuddering halt?"