Lee under pressure: Ponting

December 22nd, 2008 - 9:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Melbourne, Dec 22 (IANS) Form continued to elude Brett Lee against South Africa leading Australian skipper Ricky Ponting to admit that the pacer is under pressure to perform. Although Lee was economical, he managed only 1-132 for the match as South Africa claimed the second highest run chase to defeat Australia by six wickets at Perth Sunday.

The pace superstar has struggled since his unhappy tour of India.

“There is no doubt he is under a little bit of pressure right now. If you ask him, he would be disappointed with only taking one wicket this week. I am sure he will be in the squad,” Ponting was quoted as saying in The Age.

“It is probably not his best game. His pace wasn’t probably there as we all would have liked it to have been but he is a champion player. You don’t write champion players off.

“While his pace and swing probably weren’t there in this game, he actually bowled pretty good areas and kept things tighter than anyone else, but in saying that, that is probably not his role. We expect him to run in and have some impact with the new ball, and that wasn’t there in this game.”

Johnson’s 8-61 in the first innings was the best performance by an Australian in a losing team - and the unhealthy reliance on the 27-year-old reflected particularly badly on Lee, who was singled out by Ponting before the series as the man who must stand up and lead the attack in the absence of the injured Stuart Clark.

Earlier, Ponting said there were “a lot of passengers in the team”, and while he said the batsmen were equally culpable in their failure to bat the Proteas out of the game the bowling attack appears the most likely to change in the second Test at Melbourne.

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