Australia v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Brisbane, 3rd day November 10, 2007

Lee revels as bowling spearhead

Brett Lee took 4 for 26 in the first innings, and pushed the match further in favour of Australia by removing Sanath Jayasuriya in the second innings (file photo). © Getty Images
Brett Lee's first Test in charge of a restructured attack is going according to plan after his four first-innings wickets allowed Ricky Ponting to enforce the follow-on. Lee insisted the only differences to his duties were choosing the end and delivering the first over, but he has accepted the extra responsibility in a comprehensive performance.

Two wickets to finish the first innings at 211 were added to his couple from the second afternoon as he captured 4 for 26 off 17 overs. And he ended the day with the valuable dismissal of Sanath Jayasuriya, whose edge was taken smartly by Ponting at second slip, leaving Sri Lanka at 2 for 80 and needing 261 runs to make Australia bat again.

"To bowl close to 20 overs, it's nice when rewards come your way, especially at the end when the ball went reverse," he said. "It was great to bowl in partnerships and be there when Mitchell Johnson got his first Test wicket."

Each of Australia's five bowlers chipped in and made it impossible for the Sri Lankan batsmen to break free. Stuart Clark was penetrative early in the day, removing Mahela Jayawardene and Chamara Silva, and Johnson forced numerous plays and misses in the process of picking up two wickets.

Stuart MacGill was useful when camped at the Stanley Street End while Andrew Symonds was a surprise partnership breaker in both innings during his first Test on his home ground. He bowled Farveez Maharoof with a ball that stayed low and came back on late in the day to upset Marvan Atapattu, who admitted to getting a glove on his attempted pull of a wayward short ball.

The bowlers were on a high when Ponting, who usually prefers batting again, consulted them about the follow-on. "The aim was to pick up one wicket but we got two," Lee said. "Symonds came on at the right time and got two very handy wickets. To have them two down overnight is a good position for us."

Lee expects MacGill and Symonds to be used heavily on day four to lighten the load of the fast men. "Stuart's definitely got a big role to play," he said. "The quicks have bowled a lot of overs. We need to tidy up one end and bowl Stuey from the other."

Peter English is the Australasian editor of Cricinfo