lee is ready to bowl again

LEEDS, England - Fast bowler Brett Lee insisted yesterday that he was ready to make a dramatic return from injury in the fourth Test as Australia look to revive their Ashes campaign.

Lee, the most experienced bowler in Australia's attack with 310 wickets in 76 Tests, has not featured at all in the first three matches of this Ashes series after sustaining a side injury in the lead-up to the first Test.

But the 32-year-old New South Wales fast bowler was adamant he would be fit to last the pace in the fourth Test, which starts at Headingley in Leeds tomorrow with Australia 1-0 down in the five-match series.

Asked if he was fit for Test cricket, Lee told reporters yesterday: "Yes, 100 percent. I do believe I have done the work. I've been bowled eight days straight.

"Most days I've bowled back-to-back, morning and afternoon sessions. Today I bowled practically the whole session and my pace felt really good. I'm 100percent ready to go."

With no tour match in between the end of Monday's drawn third Test at Edgbaston and tomorrow's start at Yorkshire's headquarters, Australia would be selecting Lee "cold" if they recalled him to their side this week. But the bowler himself couldn't see a problem with his lack of recent match practice.

"Hopefully I've done everything I can to prove I'm ready to go," he said.

"I'm confident if I was called upon to play I would be able to get through. If it was a different injury, you might think differently. But the way I've felt, I've done the preparation and it's been a minor setback."

Lee admitted it had been a frustrating experience to be on the sidelines in a series where Australia have yet to bowl England out twice.

"Honestly, it's been really difficult. You know how much I love playing, you know I'd love to be out there playing," said Lee, who has not played a Test since December because of foot and heel injuries. - AFP