Lee content with opening day

Late wickets leave India struggling in Perth

Last Updated: 16/01/08 10:14pm

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Lee: Three wickets

Lee: Three wickets

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Brett Lee was pleased with Australia's fight-back after tea on the opening day of the third Test against India in Perth.

"Those two late wickets, six down, I think Australia is in a pretty good spot now. It was pretty hot out there. When you see seagulls walking around with their mouths open, you know it's a pretty warm day."
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India lost four wickets during the final session to subside from 177-2 to finish at 297-6.

The day turned decisively in Australia's favour during the last 40 minutes when Rahul Dravid (93) was caught having a wild heave at Andrew Symonds' part-time off-spin and Lee removed VVS Laxman (27).

Lee led the attack with figures of 3-64 on a WACA pitch that was not as quick as the pre-match hype had suggested.

"We just had to hang in there," said Lee. "If we had them four down for 300 it might have been a different story and you'd probably give India the tick in the box.

Good spot

"Those two late wickets, six down, I think Australia is in a pretty good spot now. It was pretty hot out there. When you see seagulls walking around with their mouths open, you know it's a pretty warm day.

"Through what I have done over the last couple of years, I know when to go up and down a gear.

"There are times when you're running in bowling about 95 percent of your maximum and try to get the ball the right line and length, there are times when you have to go full tilt and that was today...When you need a wicket you have to go up to that next gear."

After the controversial player behaviour that marred the second Test in Sydney, Lee was happy that the opening day in Perth was played in a more positive spirit.

"I have been happy with how the game has been played," added Lee.

"It was a lot of fun, there were a few jokes cracked out there, both teams were laughing - hard, tough cricket and that is what cricket is all about."

Dravid felt India's decision to change their batting order had been justified by their performance on the first day.

Virender Sehwag was brought in to partner Wasim Jaffer at the top of the order, with Dravid returning to his preferred number three position after struggling as an opener in the first two Tests.

Laxman dropped down to number six and out-of-form left-hander Yuvraj Singh was dropped from the starting line-up.

"It's a tough one because I've never done well as an opener. I haven't got to the bottom of it," said Dravid.

"I've spoken to a lot of guys who have opened the batting and batted at number three and in the middle order, and a lot of times you just feel different. It's hard to explain.

"I'm pretty familiar with batting in the position I batted so it was nice."

Disappointed

Dravid looked on course for a century before skying a catch off Symonds attempting to go for a big hit over the leg-side when on 93.

"The shot was on," he added. "I played the shot earlier. When you connect with that it looks okay, but when you don't it looks really stupid.

"I was disappointed, especially coming towards the end of the day and the start of the new ball.

"People have accused us of being negative in the first game, so we have discussed trying to be positive and play our shots and sometimes when you do that, yes, you are going to make some mistakes.

"I think there were some good, fighting performances through the day. We've still got some batting left so hopefully the lower order can contribute a bit and we can get to 400, which we were looking for at the start of the day."

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