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Lee's absence may compound Ponting's woes


Posted: Aug 07, 2009 at 1056 hrs IST

Leeds: Australian captain Ricky Ponting still appears wary about calling on Brett Lee, his most experienced bowler, to do duty against England in the fourth Ashes Test, which begins in Leeds on Friday.

“As we know it’s not just one day of bowling. It’s two or three days’ successive bowling at 100 per cent and that’s what they [the selectors] will be tossing around their heads this morning,” ‘The Telegraph’ quoted Ponting, as saying.

The Australians have decisions to make and the on-duty selector for this match, Jamie Cox, watched nets on Thursday.

Lee has claimed that he is 100 per cent fit and bowled a long spell in the nets but is 20 years since an Australia team went five Tests without a victory. Failure to do so here will have more than the usual repercussions.

Ponting is on the cusp of a pivotal Ashes moment. Defeat at Headingley and he will become the first Australia captain to lose two series in England for more than a century.

If that happens, being booed to the wicket will be the least of his worries. Going into the Test, Ponting has been philosophical about many things, including on crowd abuse.

He admitted to an ''exchange of words'' with spectator during Ashes Test at Edgbaston.

“There were some words exchanged. As it turned out he was later thrown out of the ground, so it would appear he was in the wrong doing what he did. Where we had to walk on and off the ground was close to the vicinity of a lot of spectators and if there is one place in the world where a security guy should have been standing it is right there where that spectator was so it could have been avoided,” said Ponting.

Security around the two teams at Headingley will be tighter but with strong beer served all day (in Australia they serve lower alcohol beers) and the crowd encouraged to be vocal in supporting the England team (an opera singer leads the day off with a rendition of Jerusalem), a quiet time is unlikely.

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