Lee, Clarke still feeling pain of Ashes defeat

Published: Tuesday, August 15, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Sydney:Australia fast bowler Brett Lee and batsman Michael Clarke admit they are still feeling the pain of last year's Ashes defeat.

With 100 days to go before the start of the first Test against England in Brisbane, the pair said their outstanding memory from last year's dramatic series was the disappointment of losing.

''The pain at the end stands out for me,'' Clarke told reporters today. ''The result was nothing like what I expected especially after (winning) the first Test.

''That pain has left me with a burning desire to beat England and win the Ashes back.'' Lee said Australia's two-run defeat in the second Test at Edgbaston summed up the 2-1 series loss to England, who won back the Ashes for the first time in 18 years.

''We were so close to winning and we didn't,'' he said. ''But all credit to England because they played fantastically well in the whole series.'' Lee cannot wait to resume battle with England.

''The Ashes are going to be absolutely amazing and something we have been looking forward to for a long time,'' he said.

''It's possibly the biggest series I have ever played in and the thought of opening the bowling is pretty exciting.'' The 25-year-old Clarke, who averaged 37.22 in his first Ashes series, said his main concern was earning a place in the Australia team.

''I really want to be part of it but there are a few tough calls to make,'' he said. ''Only 11 guys can play and I will be working as hard as I can to get in the first Test team.'' Lee, 29, said he was not reading too much into England's current injury problems with more than three months until the start of the series.

He particularly hopes that all-rounder Andrew Flintoff recovers from ankle surgery in time to play.

''It would be fantastic and great news for world cricket,'' he said. ''England has been playing some pretty good cricket and we must just focus on getting ourselves ready to play our best.''

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