Brett Lee ready to terrorise Indians
Lee has served a warning to the Indians that he is ready to terrorise them in the VB series finals.
Pace king Brett Lee has served a warning to the Indians that he is ready to terrorise them in the tri-series finals and avenge all the slights and mauling of the summer.
Lee was fearsome on a helpful pitch at WACA on Sunday and his name would be ringing loud in the hearts and minds of the Indian batsmen.
Just a week remains for the Indians to convert a brilliant tour into a successful one but Lee could well be the spoilsport as he has so much to settle with the tourists.
Lee was handed over two dubious distinctions by the Indians this summer, the most runs ever conceded by a fast bowler in a Test as well as the second worst performance by an Australian in one-day annals.
Lee conceded 202 runs to the Indians in the Sydney Test and was then mauled for 82 runs in his nine overs in a triangular series game in Brisbane, making him describe it "as the toughest month of my career."
But at WACA he took care of two batsmen who had given him the maximum pounding in those two lowest moments of his career - Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman.
What's more, Lee was charging in and bowling regularly in excess of 154 kmph in his first spell of six overs, making his stand-in captain Adam Gilchrist describe it "as quick as he has ever seen Brett bowl."
"He was every bit as quick as 157 kmph he bowled today. His bowling was certainly right up there with the quickest he has done," said Gilchrist who received his thunderbolts overhead and sometimes right in front of his face.
"Judging by on Sunday, he is right back to his best. He is there what he was last year, the dominant fast bowler of the competition," asserted Gilchrist.
Lee was virtually unplayable in the triangular series last year, picking up 18 wickets at 18.76, and returning a haul of 5 for 30 in the second finals against England at Melbourne which included the wickets of Marcus Trescothick, Nick Knight and Andy Flintoff.
He was in similar form today, making Tendulkar hop to a delivery in defence which jagged away and carried the edge to Matthew Hayden in slips like a bullet. Laxman was bringing down his bat too late on the thunderbolts Lee bowled to him for a couple of overs before another edge went behind the stumps.
It was a remarkable revival for a bowler who had only five wickets from five games at 38.00 in the present series before today's game. He now looms as the biggest threat in Sourav Ganguly's quest to go home with the tri-series title.
Gilchrist feels Lee's revival is because of the one-day format which does not put as much strain on him as the Tests, particularly since he was coming straight back from injury.
"He was coming back from injury and straightaway had to endure a great workload, both in Tests and in the Pura Cup," Gilchrist said.
"But One-Day is more suited to his style of bowling because he can go flat out and still is not overworked," he said.
Gilchrist felt the effect was also obvious in the way he was able to control his no-ball malaise today, an issue which made him send an SOS to Dennis Lillee to come over to Sydney and help him out.
"He is a rhythm type of bowler. Once he gets his confidence, he wouldn't be overstepping that often," said Gilchrist.
Indian captain Sourav Ganguly too admitted that Lee was too quick on the day on a pitch which suited him perfectly.
The feature of Lee's bowling was just not his pace and movement, but also the difficult length which was not allowing batsmen to either come forward or go back to him.
Admitted Gilchrist: "It wasn't just the pace. But also the right areas where he pitched the ball."
"He is a vital part of our set up in both forms of the game. We have a lot of faith in him and he has a lot to go for against the Indians," he said.
The best-of-three finals of the VB series are scheduled in Melbourne (February 6), Sydney (February 8) and Brisbane (February 10).