| Matthew Hayden during a practice session at the WACA ground in Perth Thursday. (AFP)
Perth: Australia have recalled their fastest and most dangerous bowler for the third Ashes Test against England starting on Friday in a brutal warning that they have no plans of showing any mercy to their opponents.
While the English, already 2-0 down in the five-match series, are so crippled by injuries they could not name a team on the eve of the match, Australian captain Steve Waugh signalled his side’s intention to go for a quick kill by including paceman Brett Lee at the expense of Andy Bichel.
Lee was left out of the first two Tests and while Bichel played well, capturing the vital wickets of Michael Vaughan and Nasser Hussain in the second Test in Adelaide, Lee’s frightening speed proved too much of a temptation for Australia’s selectors on a WACA pitch notorious for its bounce and pace.
“It’s going to take courage to score runs, there’s going to be injuries, but that’s Test match cricket,” Waugh said. “I don’t think the English players will be comfortable in the fact that Brett’s playing this match.
“They know he can bowl quick and he’s ready to go and he’s keen to get stuck in but I’m sure there’s some English bowlers who’ll want to get stuck into us and that’s the way it should be in Test match cricket.”
Lee, who is Australia’s most intimidating bowler and has captured 15 wickets in his two previous matches at the WACA, said he was relishing the chance to go after the English who have already shown signs of trouble against short-pitched deliveries.
“I’m not a sadist, I’m not a malicious person,” Lee said. “You don’t want to see people get injured out there but obviously there are times when bowlers do hit batsmen but that’s just part of the game.”
Australia won the first Test in Brisbane by 384 runs, the second by an even greater margin, and are favourites to win in Perth to retain the Ashes for a record eighth time in succession against an opposition unable to find any answer to their domination.
The English have been hit by a mounting injury toll but Waugh, who needs just one more victory to equal Allan Border’s record as Australia’s most successful Test captain with 32 wins, said he had no sympathy for them.
“You’re always going to go into games with fitness clouds over players but sometimes you’ve just got to out there and play,” Waugh said. “I don’t know what’s going on in the England camp but they’ve got 11 fit players and they’re playing for their country and that’s all that counts.”
Opener Matthew Hayden was cleared to play after passing a fitness test. Man of the Match in the first test in Brisbane after making twin centuries, Hayden underwent surgery twice in the past week for haemorrhoids but has been cleared to play.
While the Australians were licking their lips at the prospect of clinching the series, the mood in the English camp could not have been more different with injuries forcing them to delay naming their team until the morning of the match.
England coach Duncan Fletcher said batsman John Crawley had already been ruled out because of the hip injury he sustained against Australia A and there was some concern about fast bowler Andy Caddick who hurt his back in Adelaide.
Caddick received a steroid injection to help him recover in time for the third Test and although he trained with the team on Thursday, Fletcher said England wanted to wait until Friday before finalising their line-up.
But Fletcher did hint that off-spinner Richard Dawson was likely to play despite reports the WACA pitch will be at its fastest in 20 years. “We just want to see which pace attack we go