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Lee or McGrath may get the axe

Brett Lee or Glenn McGrath face the axe when Australia's ICC Champions Trophy campaign gets serious against New Zealand on September 16


Glenn McGrath may be fit, but that does not make him a certainty for a place in the final XI against New Zealand © Getty Images
Brett Lee or Glenn McGrath face the axe when Australia's ICC Champions Trophy campaign gets serious against New Zealand on September 16. Four fast bowlers - Lee, McGrath, Michael Kasprowicz and Jason Gillespie - shunted the United States all out for 65 in Australia's nine-wicket romp in their opening game of the tournament, but Ricky Ponting, their captain, doubted that the quartet would back up against New Zealand.
The rejuvenated Kasprowicz continued his brilliant form with 4 for 14 off seven overs and Gillespie claimed 4 for 15, while Lee took one wicket and McGrath missed out on the feast in Southampton, as both bowlers worked their way back from ankle surgery.
Ponting said that it was a last-minute decision to include the four fast bowlers against USA in a bid to dismiss them quickly, but he did not expect to repeat the tactic for the virtual quarter-final against New Zealand at The Oval.
"That option is there for us to do, but it's a fairly unlikely option because we tend to be quite slow between our overs and if we played four quicks I don't think we'd bowl 50 overs in an innings," he said. "It's something we might be able to do, all of our fast bowlers at the moment are going really well.
"Michael's form of late has been outstanding, Jason has been the same," he continued. "Brett and Glenn are really both only on their way back to international cricket but are both going along really well. There are certainly selection headaches around the team at the moment but whenever you're picking an Australian team, it's always hard to do. A couple of guys who missed out are always very unlucky.
"With the weather and the chance for us to get our run-rate above New Zealand, we decided if we won the toss and sent them in, to go in in with four fast bowlers would work better for us. We've got to pick another team for Thursday, it could be a completely different make-up."
Brad Hogg was 12th man against USA, while Shane Watson and Ian Harvey missed out, but they are all in contention to play against New Zealand, who took their record to 14 wins from their last 16 one-day internationals with a 210-run win over USA in their first game.
With England's autumn weather playing a crucial role in the tournament, Ponting's plan to get a higher run-rate than the New Zealanders worked perfectly against the Americans. The Australians skittled them in 24 overs and then racked up the target in 47 balls. The result gave Australia a net run-rate of 7.13 to New Zealand's 4.20 after one game.