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    Australian pace trio work way back under Lillee

    Sydney: Australian pace trio James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins are in training under Test great Dennis Lillee as they work their way back to full fitness from injury, a report said Thursday.

    Australia have already wrestled back the Ashes without their services, but plans are in place to gradually return the young quicks to top-level cricket with an eye on the tour to South Africa in February-March.

    Pattinson, Starc and Cummins, who all had back injuries, went through their paces in the nets in Perth on Wednesday as Australia's fast-bowling coach Craig McDermott and pace great Lillee watched and advised, The Australian said.

    The trio, along with injured fast bowler Jackson Bird, have not been badly missed by Australia, who convincingly won the opening three Tests against England with Mitchell Johnson in the best form of his career, supported by Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle.

    Pattinson and Bird would likely be available for the squad that heads to South Africa for three Tests in February and March, the report said.

    Pattinson and Bird are available to play in the domestic Twenty20 Big Bash League, but Starc is some way off competitive cricket, while Cummins is continuing his rehabilitation.

    Former Test bowling coach Troy Cooley, now at the national cricket academy in Brisbane, said the net sessions were part of a specialist skills programme.
    "We got the four bowlers up to Brisbane last week and then thought we'd take the opportunity to get them to Perth during the Test match," Cooley told the newspaper.

    "We coordinate it with the states and it's all part of managing their rehabilitation and keeping an eye on them.

    "You take any chance you can get to have Dennis (Lillee) involved with the bowlers and it's good to get them in front of Craig McDermott, because hopefully they will be back working with him in the team soon.

    "They are all at different stages of their comeback. Jackson Bird graduated last week, but the others still have a bit of work to do."

    Cummins has battled injuries since playing his only Test in South Africa in 2011, while Pattinson, Bird and Starc broke down at various points during the Ashes series in England in July-August.