Brett Lee says he will never replace fast bowling titan Glenn McGrath but his performances in the winning series over Sri Lanka point to a successful transition for Australian cricket.
McGrath retired from Test cricket along with leg-spinning great Shane Warne after last January's fifth Ashes Test against England in Sydney with 563 wickets, the most in history by a fast bowler.
This is the first Test series since McGrath's retirement and 31-year-old Lee has come through with flying colours, claiming man-of-the-series honours with 16 wickets in two Tests at 17.56.
Lee has grown into a great fast bowler and was instrumental in the 96-run victory in the second and final Test with the crucial wickets of Marvan Atapattu (80), first-innings centurion Mahela Jayawardene (0) and Sanath Jayasuriya (45) in Sri Lanka's second innings.
Lee, who has taken over the role of Australia's premier strike bowler, plays down any comparison with McGrath.
"Well, they are massive shoes to fill and I will never ever try to fill Glenn's shoes. We are different bowlers," Lee said after his 4-87 in today's second innings.
"The thing that I can only do is really focus on trying to lead the Australian attack the best way I possibly can and that's building partnerships and bowling with the rest of the guys.
"I'm really happy with my own personal performance and the way the ball came out, but it was a brilliant team effort."
Skipper Ricky Ponting believes Lee, once a firebrand speedster, has become a smarter bowler.
"The more you play the smarter you become and the more you understand what you have to do to be successful. I think that's where it is with Brett at the moment," Ponting said.
"He knows now that if he bowls enough balls in the right areas... He's giving himself the best chance of taking wickets.
"If you look at what Glenn McGrath did over the years, he really didn't do anything special. He kept the ball in the right area and took away the batsman's scoring shots.
"I think Brett's just getting the ball in the right areas for longer periods of time and luckily enough we are hanging on to a few catches for him.