Anil Kumble, the beleaguered India skipper, has found support from an unexpected quarter. Even as uncharitable remarks have been flying thick and fast following his listless performance in the first Test of the current series, leaving him hurt and angry, the Australian pace spearhead Brett Lee has come forward in his defence, saying the Australians still consider him a major threat.
"He is a great player and one bad game doesn't change anything about him. He is the third highest wicket-taker in the history of the game and we would treat him the way a bowler of his caliber ought to be treated" said Lee.
Lee also cleared the air about a section of Australian media dubbing Saurav Ganguly as a serial offender.
Insisting that he and his teammates have no issues with Ganguly, he said, "He has a role to play and he did that."
The quick bowler conceded that they were a bit disappointed after the Bangalore Test ended in a draw.
But, at the same time, they are also looking at the positives drawn from the match. "We are happy with the way we played. We could have taken a few more wickets on the last day though, but that was not to be," he said.
The Aussies, however, have some injury worries to bother them. Stuart Clark, who is nursing an elbow injury, missed the practice session, making him a doubtful starter for the game. "I do not want to comment on Clark's injury. Alex Kountouris (physio) is taking care of him and we are hoping he will recover in time," said Lee.
Nevertheless, the look of the wicket here should have brightened up the visitors' mood.
"The wicket here is completely different from the one in Bangalore. Traditionally, this wicket has helped fast bowling and we are eager to have a go at the Indians. The Bangalore wicket was low and slow, but I hope we will have much more bounce and carry on this track," he said.
Lee was also full of praise for the Indian pace duo of Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma. "They were superb in Bangalore and used the incoming delivery effectively. Zaheer even contributed with the bat. We will need to watch out for them," he said.
As for Sachin's impending world record, Lee said Sachin was a great player and he thoroughly deserves the record.
"I just hope he doesn't get those 15 runs against us, but he is a world class batsman and it's always been a challenge to bowl to him," said Lee.
Earlier, the Australian practice session was delayed by an hour as the overnight rains left the practice pitches drenched.
Finally, when the session started, Matthew Hayden and Michael Clarke made the most of it, batting for over an hour under the watchful eyes of Greg Chappell.
Brett Lee, Mitchell Johnson, Doug Bollinger and Peter Siddle also had a prolonged session, warming themselves up nicely for the challenge.