Worcester:Brett Lee's five-wicket burst either side of tea led an inspired fight-back for Australia against England Lions on Thursday, as the Lions closed on 302 for six after a century by Stephen Moore.
Steven Davies (53) and Adil Rashid (36 not out) put on 86 before stumps to help the Lions rebound from Lee's hostile spell on day two of Australia's final practice match before the Ashes start against England in Cardiff on Wednesday.
Australia, dismissed for 358 before lunch, had been desperate for a breakthrough after Moore (120) and Joe Denly (66) put on 172 for the first wicket. It was Moore's first century of the season and scored on his home ground.
But when Lee struck the Lions soon crashed to 209 for five. Lee had five for 53 in 20 overs at the close, nearing his career best of seven for 114. The match turned when Lee changed ends - he claimed five for 26 in a nine-over spell.
"You can make anything out of a stat or a scoreboard but being around the Australian cricket team for 10 years I know we never give up," Lee told reporters.
"It doesn't matter whether we are playing a trial match, a county match or a Test match we always give it our best. It wasn't the ideal preparation for us, being none for 170-odd, but we knew one early breakthrough could turn things around, which is what happened. It was like a snowball effect."
Lee, who will be seeking to better his career best of seven for 114 on Friday, could well have earned himself a Test comeback at Cardiff, having not played a Test match since December.
Moore was clearly impressed with Lees swing and pace.
"That extra pace was the key ingredient for him bowling consistently at the 93 miles per hour mark," Moore said. "He got some late swing that made the toes curl in the boots. Even Mitchell Johnson and Stuart Clark weren't getting it to dip in like that."
The Australians were dominated by Moore and Denly for 44 overs, and even leading bowler Mitchell Johnson struggled in hot and sunny conditions, allowing 101 runs from his 20 overs.
Moore registered his century (in 147 deliveries) in the over before tea when he cover drove Lee for a boundary and received a congratulatory pat on the back from the fast bowler, who swung the ball both ways and clocked speeds of 95 miles per hour.
Denly, who plundered eight fours and a six, was bowled by Lee 15 minutes before tea, before Lions captain Ian Bell was lbw first ball to a ball that swung into him late.
Lee almost dismissed Vikram Solanki for his hat-trick, but Solanki managed an inside edge for four that narrowly missed his leg stump.
After tea, Lee bowled Solanki off his pads for eight, snared left-hander Eoin Morgan lbw for four and then had the South Africa-born Moore caught by wicket-keeper Brad Haddin to a top-edged pull shot. Haddin dropped Moore when on 41 off Stuart Clark.
Moore, who reached his fifty with a hook shot for six off left-arm pacer Johnson, faced 176 balls and struck 15 boundaries and two sixes.
Before lunch, Mike Hussey was bowled by Steve Harmison for 150, adding just seven runs to his overnight score. Harmison finished with figures of four for 80.