Brett Lee looking forward to Indian challenge

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Sydney, Oct 26 (UNI) After getting thrashed in the previous encounter, when India tour 'Down Under,' fast bowler Brett Lee says he had ''forgotten'' that and is looking forward to take up the mantle of leading the bowling attack in the series.

In that series (2003/04) five Indian batsman -- Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Sourav Ganguly and Virender Sehwag -- averaged more than 50 runs. The series though ended in a draw.

Two of Austraia's once-in-a-generation bowlers were missing in that series. Shane Warne was serving a drug ban, and Glenn McGrath was injured. The 30-year-old Lee led the bowling attack in their absence in the two Tests but produced an unflattering return of eight wickets for 476 runs at a cost of 59.50 each.

''I actually had forgotten about that until now, so thanks for bringing it up,'' Lee said when asked if revenge may motivate his efforts this summer.

The New South Wales bowler rates the Indian top-order the biggest challenge to Australian bowlers, nominating the usual suspect and current ODI captain Mahendra Dhoni.

''Probably the hardest hitter of the ball I've ever seen in my life, a guy who can clear the pickets at will,'' Lee said about the hard hitting Indian wicket-keeper.

Terming the Indian batsman as a challenge to bowl at Lee said, ''They're great batsmen to bowl against and, if you want to improve your cricket, you always put yourself against the best and that's the Indian batsmen.'' ''We've definitely got our work cut out but we have got a great side,''Lee told 'The Age'.

Acknowledging the huge loss of McGrath and Warne in the Australian side this year Lee said, ''In the hard Test matches, we've always thought we can turn to Glenn McGrath or Shane Warne to try to take a wicket and actually get that breakthrough.'' ''But now we haven't got that. We are looking to guys like Stuey Clark or Mitchell Johnson, if he gets the opportunity, or Stuey MacGill, or whoever it might be.'' Despite being thrust into a leadership role after legendary McGrath's retirement, Lee does not foresee his role changing.

''I'm not going to go out there and try to be a different bowler. I'm out there trying to take wickets, to help the guys and try to bowl in partnerships,'' he said.

Pleased to return to Test cricket Lee said, ''Test match cricket is about a test of character, a test of courage. It's a test of a person's mental strength as well. It's not over in 20 overs, it's not over in 50 overs: this is about going out there and playing five days of solid cricket.'' UNI

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