Australia v India, CB series, 1st ODI, Brisbane February 3, 2008

'We've got heaps of depth' - Lee

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Brett Lee: "The way he's [Ashley Noffke] played over the past couple of seasons, he's a great find for Australian cricket, not only with the ball, but also with the bat" © Getty Images
 

Brett Lee believes Australia's strong bowling depth will ensure they can cope without the fiery pace of Shaun Tait throughout the CB Series. Tait became a one-day regular over the past year when Australia boasted two potent weapons, but he has taken an indefinite break from all forms of the game.

Australia unveiled a fresh fast-bowling attack on a sporting pitch in Brisbane and it succeeded in reducing India to 194 in the rain-ruined contest. Lee made sure Tait and Clark, who was absent for family reasons, were not severely missed with an exceptional haul of 5 for 27 from nine overs.

"It's not nice that we haven't got Shaun to pick from," Lee said. "But we have got a great bowling squad including Clark and Ashley Noffke, who bowled very well. The talent is around and we've got heaps of depth."

Usually at this time of year Lee would be expecting a short break, but his extra responsibilities as the attack leader mean he will probably be needed until Australia move closer to securing a safe passage to the finals. He will wait on the advice of the team coaches and wants to appear in his home-ground game against Sri Lanka on Friday.

"I have bowled a lot of balls this summer and my workload has increased a fair bit," he said. "We'll have to wait and see [about a rest]. I'm looking forward to playing in Sydney and we'll see what happens after that."

 
 
I have bowled a lot of balls this summer and my workload has increased a fair bitBrett Lee
 

Mitchell Johnson performed strongly, taking 1 for 33, while Nathan Bracken was loose in steamy conditions that should have suited him more. Noffke, the debutant, was nervous during his first four overs but came back well in his final two spells to finish with 1 for 47 off nine.

Lee was confident Noffke, who came in for Clark, would be a useful addition to the squad in Tait's absence. "It's always hard in your first game," Lee said. "After his first couple of overs he was rushing through a little bit and we had a chat and a laugh and he was fine.

"The way he's played over the past couple of seasons, he's a great find for Australian cricket, not only with the ball, but also with the bat. He's a fantastic allrounder and can do some great things for Australia."

The match ended early due to the rain with Australia 3 for 51 in the eighth over, 89 short of the revised target. "It would have been a good fight from us to get home from there," Lee said. "With our batting we would have had a good chance, but it was disappointing the rain came."

Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the India captain, was also frustrated by the no result. "It was evenly poised," he said, "but the momentum was with us, especially in the second session when our bowlers bowled really well."

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo