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September 14, 2009

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Lee sets up series victory for Australia

A DEVASTATING spell of fast bowling from Brett Lee at Lord's in London on Saturday helped Australia to a seven-wicket win and an unassailable 4-0 lead in the seven-match one-day series against England.

Lee claimed five for 49 from nine overs to restrict England to just 220 all out from 46.3 overs after it had won the toss in good batting conditions on a sunny morning. It was the ninth time Lee had taken five wickets in a one-day international.

Captain Andrew Strauss continued his good form over the English summer with a top score of 63 in 75 deliveries but he was the only England player to craft a big inning.

Australia reached 221-3 in reply with 6.2 overs left.

"Our batting hasn't fired for four games," Strauss told a news conference. "A few of the guys are low on confidence and one-day cricket is not a game where you can scratch around for too long. You have to play in a positive fashion."

Michael Clarke, who stood in as captain in the first three matches when Ricky Ponting took a break in Australia, finished the match with an unbeaten 62, while opener Tim Paine made 51 and Ponting stroked 48.

Regain credibility

While Australia will be seeking a 7-0 whitewash after losing the Ashes series 1-2, England needs to regain credibility and confidence before the ICC Champions Trophy begins in South Africa later this month.

Lee, who missed the entire Ashes series through injury, made the initial breakthrough when he had Joe Denly caught at first slip for 11. He later bowled Matt Prior (29), Luke Wright (12), Adil Rashid (4) and Stuart Broad (2) with dipping, stinging yorkers.

In Colombo, Sri Lanka's promising all-rounder Angelo Mathews produced a career best 6-20 to subject India to a humiliating 139-run defeat in the third Tri-series match on Saturday.

Sanath Jayasuriya (98) and Thilina Kandamby (91 not out) took Sri Lanka to 307 for six then India succumbed for 168 from 37.2 overs.

India clearly felt the strain of playing back-to-back night matches as its bowlers allowed Sri Lanka the luxury of 10 wides and the batsmen then capitulated against the moving ball.

Both teams have qualified for today's final. New Zealand was eliminated after losing its two matches.


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