PIERS Morgan broke a rib during his encounter with Brett Lee in the MCG nets, the TV host revealed on Twitter, saying an X-ray had confirmed the injury.

Lee challenged Morgan to face his deliveries when the former newspaper editor and avid cricket fan questioned the courage of the English batsmen facing Mitchell Johnson in the Ashes series.

When Morgan geared up and entered the nets during the tea break on day two of the fourth Ashes Test last Friday, Lee proceeded to pelt him with six fast balls, four of which hit Morgan in the body.

The public showdown drew the ire of former New Zealand Test cricketer Sir Richard Hadlee, who called Lee's behaviour "stupid" and "appalling".

"This was a brain explosion of the highest order," he wrote for Fairfax Media. "Morgan, aged 48, was hit four times on the body and if he was hit on the head or across the heart the result could have been devastating."

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