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Australia's Brett Lee ends Test career but plays on

Brett Lee (left) is consoled by Andrew Flintoff in the iconic moment of the 2005 Ashes series
Lee was famously consoled by Flintoff after the second Ashes Test in 2005

Australia fast bowler Brett Lee has announced his retirement from Test cricket with immediate effect.

But the 33-year-old aims to regain his place in Australia's Twenty20 and one-day international teams and wants to play in the 2011 World Cup.

A veteran of 76 Tests, he struggled to recover from elbow surgery in December.

"My reason for retiring [from Tests] is so that I can preserve my body and continue to represent my country in the other forms of the game," he said.

"I'm not 21, I'm 33," he added. "Trying to bowl at 150kph for five days is very hard on the body."

Lee has been plagued by injuries since making his Test debut against India in 1999.

In his prime, the New South Wales star was the fastest bowler in the world and part of a feared Australia bowling quartet alongside Glenn McGrath, Jason Gillespie and Shane Warne.

But Lee missed the entire 2009 Ashes series after struggling with a side strain, and a subsequent operation on his elbow has pushed a return date even further back.

He has not worn the baggy green since the 2008 Boxing Day Test against South Africa.

Lee has played 76 Tests, 186 one-day internationals and 17 Twenty20 internationals, and also featured for Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League.

Though he only averages a shade over 20 with the bat in Test cricket, Lee's batting will always have a place in Ashes folklore.

He nearly steered Australia to an incredible victory in the second Ashes Test in 2005, and the picture of him being consoled by England hero Andrew Flintoff, reflecting the sportsmanship between the two sides in that series, has become an iconic cricketing image.

Flintoff, who ended his own Test career last summer said: "From my own experience, I know how hard it is to keep performing at the highest level when you have a series of injuries.

"I'm sure Brett will be remembered by cricket lovers everywhere as an outstanding athlete, great fast bowler and a key part of Australia's success."

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Australia captain Ricky Ponting said: "I and the rest of the team obviously wish him the best with his recovery, and hopefully he gets the green and gold back on and is out there representing Australia."

Cricket Australia chief executive officer James Sutherland said: "Brett's had a fantastic career in Test cricket for Australia over a long period.

"I take this opportunity to congratulate him on the way he has represented his country and the outstanding contribution he has made.

"To finish his Test career sitting fourth on Australia's list of Test wicket-takers, behind Warne, McGrath and (Dennis) Lillee is a fantastic achievement.

"Although he's retired from Test cricket, I look forward to seeing him return to Australian colours in the shorter formats of the game."

Lee's former international team-mate Justin Langer said: "I am just glad I was on his side and not having to face him.

"Test cricket will be poorer without Brett, who - his presence in white and green will be missed."



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see also
Aussie Lee admits retirement fear
16 Feb 10 |  Australia
Paceman Lee has surgery on elbow
03 Dec 09 |  Australia
Paceman Lee to decide on future
17 Nov 09 |  Australia
Paceman Lee targets Test comeback
30 Oct 09 |  Australia
NSW seal Champions League glory
23 Oct 09 |  Cricket
Injured Lee to miss Ashes opener
06 Jul 09 |  Australia
Lee not fit for Pakistan series
15 Apr 09 |  Australia
Ashes 2005: Series of the century
01 Sep 05 |  Story of the Series


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