Australia's Brett Lee joins 250-Test-wicket club

Published: Thursday, December 27, 2007, 17:03 [IST]
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Melbourne: Brett Lee's seemingly unstoppable rise to become one of the greats of Australian bowling reached another milestone here when he joined the 250 club of Test wickets.

The spearhead of the Australian bowling attack following the retirements earlier this year of record-breakers Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath shared top billing with Stuart Clark (4-28) as they helped dismiss India for 196 in the first Test.

Lee, 31, man-of-the-series against Sri Lanka last month, claimed 4-46 and took his 250th Test wicket to become the sixth all-time leading Australian wicket-taker, overtaking Richie Benaud.

"It feels fantastic... when you're nine years of age, you think about playing one Test match or even taking one Test wicket," he said.

"But to think that you're in the 250 club, it's a pretty special moment. I'm a very proud man."

Lee played a major part in helping the Australians seize the momentum with a 179-run lead after the second day's play with 10 wickets and three days left to get a result in the first match of the four-Test series.

The speedster has developed into a model of line and length consistency as he shoulders the responsibility of leading the Australian new-ball attack.

"In our team meetings... we've been talking about being so patient, especially on this MCG (Melbourne) wicket," Lee said.

"It's a very low, slow wicket, so patience is probably what we're after and building up momentum and patience from each end."

Lee would have reached the 250 mark sooner had he not been sidelined from Test cricket for 18 months because of an ankle injury through 2004-05, and missed this year's World Cup win with another ankle problem.

"When the times are going good, you have to look back and think: well, okay, I did spend 18 months away from the side, being 12th man," he said.

"I couldn't get a game, so you appreciate the hard times that you've been through and then you appreciate the good times as well.

"I'm happy with the way the ball is coming out currently, I'm being patient, the body is feeling great.

"Missing the World Cup -- it was pretty painful. Mentally and physically I'm in a great state of mind."

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