Fast bowler Brett Lee returns home for nasal surgery

Fast bowler Brett Lee has left Australia's brief cricket tour of New Zealand to undergo nasal surgery, a team spokesman said Thursday. Lee will miss the third and final match of the Chappell-Hadlee limited overs series in Christchurch on Saturday. Australia clinched the series when it beat New Zealand by two runs in Wellington on Wednesday.

Lee was the target of unruly crowd behavior in the opening match in Auckland last weekend and again in Wellington when he bowled a "beamer" or high full toss at New Zealand wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum. The delivery was the latest of a number of beamers bowled by Lee, the second he has bowled at McCullum in successive series. Captain Ricky Ponting said the incident was not deliberate.

"No one means to do it, Brett certainly doesn't mean to do it and he's said that quite a few times already, so I just hope everyone understands that," Ponting said. "Anyone who knows Brett would know there is no way he would ever attempt to do that, and I hope it's written that way and the cricket lovers and followers around this country understand that."

New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori appeared to give Lee the benefit of the doubt, saying "if he says it's an accident, it's an accident", reported AP. P.T.

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