Sydney, June 4 (ANI): Confidence is growing within the Australian camp that Brett Lee is getting back to full fitness in time for the Twenty20 world championships and, more crucially, the Ashes campaign that follows.
Tim Nielsen, the coach with the twin aims of improving the team's mediocre Twenty20 record and optimising Ashes preparations, was gratified to see Johnson and Lee tear into the New Zealand top order, which crashed to 5-21 in the sixth over before the Black Caps staged a recovery to reach a respectable 147.
Lee removed Brendon McCullum with the third ball of the match, but it was his consistent, express pace and economy rate of 2.3 runs an over that suggested he is making encouraging progress, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
"He had a long break from international cricket. It's fine to be playing in the IPL and all those sorts of things but when you get back up against 11 international players on the big stage it starts to see how you're going and he is showing some good signs," Nielsen said after Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke steered Australia to victory with a partnership of 104.
"His pace was more consistent. Unfortunately we didn't have the television to give us the actual numbers but I thought he bowled quite quick. The ball was swinging out of his hand, which was nice, and he is happier tonight than he was (after the previous win against Bangladesh)," he added.
The Australian campaign begins against the West Indies on Saturday. (ANI)