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India toughest side to beat: Brett Lee

Ready to return to action after a brief break, the Aussie speedster says he wants to test himself in Sunday's tri-series ODI.

cricket Updated: Feb 24, 2008 02:40 IST

Ready to return to action after a brief break, Australian speedster Brett Lee said he wants to test himself in Sunday's tri-series one-dayer against India whom he considers one of the toughest sides to beat.

Lee gave enough indication that Australia would face a tough fight if India made it to the best-of-three finals.

"Sri Lanka and India are very hard teams to play against but for the moment, it looks India is the toughest side to beat.

"If India gets a great start, they are very hard to pull back... A few guys in Sri Lanka can also fire. It's a tough question but I've always enjoyed playing against India, testing yourself against Sachin Tendulkar. If you can prove yourself against the best, you know you are going alright," the fast bowler said.

Lee has taken a lot of workload during the current season but feels refreshed after resting for Australia's previous two tri-series games.

"I will play tomorrow. We have had this thing through our sports scientists which showed I have bowled well above the limit I should have bowled this summer. But I have been allowed (a rest) to freshen up and would be ready to steam in again tomorrow," claimed Lee.

Lee, however, stressed that representing Australia was always the biggest honour for him.

"I have no problem with Twenty20 as long as there is a separate time for it, when you have done your international duty and allowed the body to recover. In terms of priority, it's so important playing cricket for Australia, it's a dream you nurture since you are nine years old."

There has been a lot of needle between India and Australia in the current season and Lee defended the manner in which his team played the game.

"There has been just one incident throughout this season, one complaint that has come through the switchboard. But that incident is done and dusted with.

"There was some great cricket played in the last couple of series. Cricketers shake hands after Tendulkar gets a century and the camaraderie after the game doesn't get mentioned enough through the media.

"We have to address what has happened but we have always played the game in the right spirit. You don't want to be twiddly winks, it's not a game of backyard cricket -- you are playing for your country... And want to play very hard and yet very fair."

Lee praised India's rookie speedster Ishant Sharma both as a person and an upcoming pace bowler.

"Sharma looks great. He is just 19 years and this summer has come up by leaps and bounds. He has great pace, great control for a 19-year-old... He has got good intensity and isn't afraid to stare at the batsmen.

"But I want to emphasise that he is the first person who would grab hands with Gilchrist. Even though Symonds was given not out against his bowling in Sydney, he was the first one to shake his hands after he got his hundred. That's the thing you notice the most about him," Lee added.