Brett Lee, Australia's new attack leader, has revealed he feels more comfortable bowling for Ricky Ponting than he did with Steve Waugh. Lee has been the side's No. 1 fast man throughout the summer, taking 38 wickets at 25.73 in eight Tests, and he has stepped up his responsibilities since Glenn McGrath withdrew to look after his wife Jane.
Lee said in The Australian he felt much clearer in is his outlook under Ponting after being confused earlier in his career. "Generally speaking, the way that Ricky has captained my personal bowling over the last couple of years has just been brilliant," Lee said in the paper. "I've been really happy with it.
"Going back two or three years, I wasn't really sure what was going on as far as what they wanted me to do, run in and bowl fast or bowl seam up or try to reduce the pace a bit. The most important thing you need as a sportsman is to be clear on what you're actually doing. I can go into a match now knowing what my role is, what is expected of me."
Ponting pulled Lee aside for a chat during the first Test against West Indies in Brisbane last November to outline his plans. The talk worked as Lee ended the match with 5 for 30 and a severe boost to his confidence.
"It is a lot clearer than it was three or four years ago, which has definitely helped my cricket," Lee said. "There's going to be times when I might be needed to bowl an eight-over spell and other times when I'm used for two-over spells. The opening spell might be a bit longer if there is a bit going on with the brand new ball."
Lee bowled no more than seven-over stints during the first Test at Cape Town, where he picked up five wickets, and the days of him delivering 40 overs in an innings, like he did during his 4 for 201 against India in 2003-04, are over.
The second Test begins in Durban on Friday and Lee said Stuart MacGill was a possibility for the match. If twin spin is preferred Lee will partner Stuart Clark, who took nine wickets on debut at Cape Town. Lee's message for Clark after his 5 for 55 in the first innings, the best figures by an Australian in his maiden game since Lee, was: "Don't change anything."