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Page last updated at 17:49 GMT, Thursday, 2 July 2009 18:49 UK

Lee shines but Australia struggle

England Lions 302-6 v Australia 358 (day two, stumps)
Venue: New Road Date: 1-4 July Start: 1100 BST
Match scorecard

By Oliver Brett

Stephen Moore
Moore played beautifully on his home ground of New Road

Australia had a tough day in the field at New Road despite a brilliant spell of fast reverse-swing bowling from Brett Lee either side of tea.

The England Lions reached 302-6 in reply to the tourists' 358 with Stephen Moore making 120.

Lee ended the 172-run opening stand between Moore and Joe Denly (66) and single-handedly triggered a collapse to 209-5, but was poorly supported.

Mitchell Johnson, Stuart Clark and Nathan Hauritz were all wicketless.

But Lee, who took 5-53, bowling a full length and getting the ball to swing late at pace, was seriously impressive and must have done enough to extinguish any doubts about whether he would make the team for the first Ashes Test.

"I haven't trained for 25 weeks to sit on the sideline," Lee said.

"I have tried to do everything possible to make sure I am ready for the first Test but I have not been looking to put pressure on myself.

"I know if I bowl well and take wickets, I will be putting my hand up to be chosen for the first Test.

"If things don't happen for the first Test, then I will find a way around it and be ready for the second Test."

Until Lee crucially found reverse swing in the 45th over, Kent 23-year-old Denly and Moores, the leading run-scorer in first-class cricket last year, had made Australia's entire attack look distinctly ordinary on a flat track.

Johnson, who had the luxury of being rested for the match against Sussex at Hove, was either rusty or saving himself for higher things as he bowled well below his optimum pace and barely threatened to take a wicket in 20 overs costing 101 runs.

Clark was better, beating the bat on rare occasions with subtle seam movement, but Hauritz again gave the impression that he would struggle if picked for the Ashes.

Moore, playing on his home ground, was always a little more fluent than Denly - but both played some sumptuous drives and were secure with their pull shots, which became an easy method of accumulation on an easy-paced wicket.

Brett Lee
Lee carried the bowling attack for Australia at New Road

Finally, Lee summoned up a big effort and swung a ball into Denly's stumps, before producing even more prodigious swing with the next delivery, which trapped Ian Bell lbw.

Vikram Solanki just survived the hat-trick, inside-edging to the boundary, but was soon another batsman to fall to Lee's fast inswinger.

By then Moore had eased to his century with a lovely square-drive for four off Lee and was playing the other bowlers, Hauritz in particular, with great certainty. So it was a surprise when he top-edged an attempted hook - Brad Haddin taking a tumbling catch behind - to be fourth out with the total on 209.

Lee was not done yet, and an ill-at-ease Eoin Morgan was soon pinned lbw, but Steve Davies (53) and Adil Rashid (36 not out) put on a gritty 86 for the sixth wicket before Marcus North's occasional spin produced one final wicket in the day.

Australia had earlier added 21 to their overnight total, with Michael Hussey reaching 150 before Steve Harmison (4-80) cleaned up his off-stump with a slower delivery to add to his Wednesday wickets of Phillip Hughes, Simon Katich and Lee.

Moore said afterwards: "I was hoping to have a great start to this season but didn't get it but I have managed to score some runs of late.

"The couple of fifties against Yorkshire and some runs in the Twenty20 probably just tipped things in my favour. I thank the selectors for keeping faith in me.

"Now to get this hundred is brilliant and I couldn't have picked a better place to get the first one of the season."

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see also
Ashes warm-up photos
04 Jul 09 |  England
Anderson puts England in command
02 Jul 09 |  England
Hussey ton helps Aussies recover
01 Jul 09 |  Australia
Harmison detects Aussie weakness
02 Jul 09 |  England
Clarke hardened by 2005 struggle
01 Jul 09 |  Australia
Siddle benefits from coach Cooley
29 Jun 09 |  Australia
Hopkinson ton frustrates Aussies
27 Jun 09 |  Australia
Injured Watson stays with Aussies
24 Jun 09 |  Australia
England omit Vaughan and Harmison
22 Jun 09 |  England
Australia in England 2009
20 Sep 09 |  England

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