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Ponting backs Lee for India match

The Aussie skipper has thrown his weight behind selection of the out-of-form seamer for Thursday.

india Updated: Jan 21, 2004 13:06 IST
PTI

Australian captain Ricky Ponting has thrown his weight behind the selection of out-of-form speedster Brett Lee for the sell-out triangular one-day international series cricket match against India at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Thursday.

Lee was belted for a record 83 runs from 10 overs in his last outing against India in Brisbane last Sunday - the most runs conceded by bowler in a one-day match in Australia.

Yet Australian selectors are persisting with the man rated one of the fastest bowlers on the planet and Ponting has backed the move.

Ponting said on Wednesday he had spoken to Lee about his form, advising him he wasn't bowling the right length.

He said he had spent time in the nets with the bowler trying to fix the problem.

"He'll take the new ball tomorrow and he'll bowl well," Ponting said.

Ponting said Lee's length had been either too full or too short in Brisbane.

"He wasn't hitting the in-between length that he has done so well in the last couple of years in both one-day and Test cricket - I let him know that and he worked hard on that," Ponting said.

"He had a good solid bowl to me in the nets and bowled well to me so I'm sure we'll see him do that tomorrow."

Ponting said the Australian starting XI hadn't been decided but the 12 for the match had been determined, with spinner Brad Hogg missing out.

New South Wales batsman Simon Katich will open the batting after being called in to replace the brilliant Matthew Hayden, who is being rested.

Both teams are assured of making the next month's finals of the tri-nation series which also includes Zimbabwe but Ponting conceded India had the edge following a drawn Test series against Australia and victory in their last one-day encounter.

"It's been a very good, even contest between the two teams right through the summer in both Test and one-day cricket and we'd like to get our noses back in front before the finals," Ponting said.

He admitted Australia had struggled to keep a lid on India's talented batting line-up but believed the tourists were due to fail soon.

"The stand-out thing so far is how well they've batted, their batters haven't given us a chance, really," he said.

"We probably haven't bowled as well as we can and our execution of some of our plans to some of their players haven't been as good as they can be.

"But I don't think it's going to be too far away before you see us take a few early wickets and put them under pressure. So far, right through the summer, that hasn't happened but it's bound to happen very soon."

India will be boosted by the return of new-ball bowler Ajit Agarkar but the opening pair Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag remain under an injury cloud.

India's coach John Wright said Tendulkar, who has a sore ankle and Sehwag, who is carrying a shoulder strain, would be assessed just before play started on Thursday.

"We obviously want to put out our strongest team tomorrow and we would like both of them to be in it but we have to assess that in the morning," he said.

Teams:

Australia: Ricky Ponting (captain), Adam Gilchrist, Simon Katich, Damien Martyn, Michael Bevan, Michael Clarke, Andrew Symonds, Ian Harvey, Andy Bichel, Brett Lee, Jason Gillespie, Brad Williams (12th man to be named).

India (from): Sourav Ganguly (captain), Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, Parthiv Patel, Hemang Badani, Rohan Gavaskar, Ajit Agarkar, Anil Kumble, Irfan Pathan, Lakshmipathy Balaji. (Two to be omitted).