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    December 08, 2005

    Breathless Lee

    From providing a whiff of fresh breath to Australian world cricket with his pace when he made his debut five years ago, to spending last year wondering about when he'd play next, to being targetted by fruit throwers last week, Breath Brett Lee has indeed come a long way. In fact there've been allegations that he had breathlessly ruthlessly targetted batsmen with beamers.

    For the immediate short term though, he will be Breathless Lee, after was forced out of the final one-dayer of the Chappell-Hadlee trophy because of a breathing problem.

    Australia won the trophy, the first time the series had a result after the series was drawn 1-1 last year. But the win didn't come easily.

    Andrew Symonds and Michael Clarke put on 220 runs after Australia were struggling at 101/4. Symonds was out in the last over, having blasted the bowling all around the ground in the last few overs to reach 156, his best score in one-dayers. Clarke was not out on 82.

    In reply, New Zealand got off to a very good start, with Vincent making a quickfire fifty. While wickets continued to fall till the 30 over stage, Cairns and Oram then put on a partnership at nearly 8 runs an over which ensured that New Zealand could actually think about getting close to the target. Keeper McCullum played a beautiful innings, running lots of singles and twos and struck the occasional boundary.

    Michael Lewis, making his debut, had already bowled very well early on, bowled a superb final over. New Zealand needed six to win with two wickets in hand. His first two balls were on the spot and two runs came off them. McCullum was runout off the third ball with Clarke hitting the stumps from a sort of very deep backward point [inside the circle though]. Vettori then took a single. Three runs to win required off two balls and Mills panicked. He patted a yorker a small distance to the bowler's left and ran on a misfield, but Lewis was calm and broke the stumps with Mills marginally short of the crease, leaving Australia winners by two runs, one of the closest margins in one-dayers between these teams.

    Lee's contribution was a first spell of 5-0-37-0. His last two overs leaked 29 runs, ensuring that New Zealand got as close as they did. He ended up with an analysis of 10-0-85-1, a far cry from terrorizing the Kiwi batsmen with 6-4-5-3 last week in the first game! One week is a long time indeed!

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    Thus spake Jagadish @ 1:56 PM |
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