Brett Lee stuns South Africa
A stunning spell of fast bowling by Brett Lee demolished South Africa and upstaged a record-breaking knock by teammate Phil Jaques as Australia grabbed a 59-run victory in their triangular series one-day match in Melbourne on Friday.
Lee sparked a massive middle-order collapse, claiming 5-22 from 10 overs as South Africa surrendered meekly to reach just 186 with three overs remaining in reply to Australia’s 245.
His inspired spell, aided by Brad Hogg, who claimed 3-32, saw the Proteas plummet from 114-3 to 124-8 as Australia took the game by the throat. Four of Lee’s victims were bowled.
Only a dogged late stand by veteran Shaun Pollock, who hit 46 off 32 balls, including successive sixes off debutant Brett Dorey, added respectability to the total.
“I had a ball out there,” Lee told reporters.
“It felt great from ball one and it’s always nice to get a few wickets.
It’s the best I’ve bowled in one-day cricket for quite some time.”
Lee said the Australians had formulated a game plan that relied on bowlers working in tandem.
“We’ve been working on bowling in partnerships—try to really dot [dot ball] the batsmen up and put the pressure back on them,” he said.
Australia’s innings had been saved by opener Jaques, who blasted the country’s highest one-day debut score of 94 off 112 balls, surpassing Kepler Wessels’s 79 against New Zealand in 1982/83.
The South Africans, who beat Australia by five wickets in their previous match, had seemed on top after dismissing Australia for a modest total on a good wicket.
Jaques, brought in for the rested Adam Gilchrist, was the only batsman to make a big score, with six of his colleagues dismissed for single figures.
Newcomer Johan van der Wath ended his party with a sharply rising delivery ruled gloved to wicketkeeper Mark Boucher.
Television replays showed the dismissal was harsh on the Australian, with the ball appearing to come off his shoulder.
Australia lost 68-6 in 16 overs with Jaques’s dismissal, but James Hopes with 38 and Michael Clarke with 34 helped steady the innings.
Andrew Hall was the best of the South African bowlers with 4-35 off 9,2 overs, while Shaun Pollock took 2-31 from 10.
The Proteas have now lost two of their three matches so far in the series, which also features Sri Lanka.—Sapa-AFP