Australia great Brett Lee has announced his retirement and named the 2005 Ashes series as his favourite memory in a 20-year career.

Lee, 38, will send down his final ball in the Big Bash League this month, either in Sydney Sixers' final group game on Thursday or later if they reach the knockouts.

Lee, one of the fastest bowlers of the modern era, is Australia's joint highest wicket-taker in one-day internationals, joining Glenn McGrath on 380 scalps. He also picked up 310 wickets in 76 Tests.

"I'm not Benjamin Button...I'm finally calling stumps on my career," he joked.

"I'm excited and emotional, certainly happy that I've made the right decision.

"I knew before this season it was going to be my last season and I think I've had more fun in the last six weeks than I have in the rest of my career.

"I didn't bother doing the maths but 20 years is a lot of ice baths, a lot of training sessions, a lot balls bowled and a lot of flights.

"But it's given me so many great memories."

Asked for his favourite moment, Lee was quick to recall the unforgettable series against England ten years ago.

Australia may have lost the contest, an unusual event at the time, but it remains the peak of his time in a Baggy Green.

"My favourite Test series has got to be the Ashes '05," he said.

"What that did for cricket and for the people involved was incredible.

"Bat sales were up 68% after that series I've been told. Even though we lost. the spirit in which it was played...I never played another series that tough.

"I had Flintoff running in at 95mph and two minutes later after they won we had a cold beer, a chat and a laugh.

"That's what sport is about."

Although the Big Bash and Indian Premier League offer veteran cricketers the chance to extend their career well past their prime - with Lee himself having been tempted out of an earlier retirement by the Twenty20 riches - he insists he is now finished for good.

"Yeah, I've had more comebacks than Rambo...but there won't be any comebacks after this."