Lee and Bracken aim for great things
Australia might be employing a fresh opening-bowling combination in an inexperienced attack, but Brett Lee and Nathan Bracken are not setting small goals in South Africa. The pair wants to match the efforts of immediate predecessors Jason Gillespie and Glenn McGrath, who is missing to look after his sick wife.
Lee will lead the fast men in McGrath's absence and he wants to embrace the role without giving up any of his speed. "I'm really looking forward to the challenge and I don't see it as any more pressure," he said in The Courier-Mail. "Glenn is 'Mr Consistent'. He has the line and length to make my job easier, but I won't be changing anything and I'll be trying to lead from the front."
Bracken will help his junior, state and international team-mate as they try to lift a raw band of back-up options with Mick Lewis, Stuart Clark and Mitchell Johnson playing only 16 matches between them. "The way to keep improving is to know each other's games better and try to get to where Glenn and Jason were as partnership bowlers," Lee said in the Sydney Morning Herald. "Sometimes Glenn would go on the attack and Jason would pull it back a bit, and vice versa. Now we have to work out for this particular one-day tour how to get to know each other a lot better."
Bracken said he and Lee were complementary players. "Brett's the sort of bowler that's going to be attacking and at the batsman, which probably suits me a bit more than other guys because I'm trying to get the ball to swing," he said. "If Brett's attacking and being aggressive at one end and I'm doing the right thing at the other, it's a good combination."
Ponting is happy for Lee to try to frighten South Africa's batsmen, which he did on a couple of occasions in taking 15 wickets in the VB Series. "In England at different times he enjoyed it when Glenn wasn't playing because he knew he was the guy who was the spearhead of the attack," Ponting said in The Courier-Mail. "It's important he remains that for us. When he's bowling fast and swinging the ball it's very difficult for any batsman.
"We need him to keep doing that. We'll have other guys around him that can do the tight job at the other end."