Lee strikes as Australia clinch Test series

Adelaide, December 1:

Brett Lee bounced back from his troubled tour of India with nine wickets against New Zealand as Australia sealed a 2-0 Test series win here today.

Lee took 4-66 and 5-105 as New Zealand made just 203 in their second innings, losing by an innings and 62 runs. Brendon McCullum provided an element of resistance with a typically

explosive 84, including 14 fours and two sixes. But Lee (5-105), Mitchell Johnson

(3-29) and spinner Nathan Hauritz (2-32) ensured Australia win their second Test within four-day.

Lee took just two wickets per Test in India and was under pressure to perform with series against South Africa and England to come. There was even talk the 32-year-old paceman would be rested for one of the New Zealand Tests. Lee countered with the best match figures he has ever collected in a Test. He said a virus picked up in India had robbed him of his strength, and had taken a while to shake off.

For all Lee’s improvement, New Zealand were extremely poor with the bat, and

Australia are sure to face stiffer opposition from South Africa. The Kiwis began

the day on 35-0, still 230 behind, but lost five wickets before lunch in a limp attempt to make the Aussies to bat again.

Black Caps captain Daniel Vettori watched on as his team self-destructed in the face of Lee’s probing line and length. Aaron Redmond squirted the second ball of the day to Michael Clarke at point before Jesse Ryder scooped a cover drive to Andrew Symonds.

Ross Taylor departed after a leading edge handed Lee a simple caught and bowled, then Ponting produced a stunning full length diving catch in the slips to remove Jamie How.

Johnson removed Daniel Flynn after the Kiwi played across the line before bowling Peter Fulton after the interval. Vettori and McCullum briefly steadied the innings but when the captain was caught by Matthew Hayden at first slip off Hauritz, Australia’s triumph was within sight.

McCullum and Tim Southee added 26 for the eighth wicket before the Kiwi bowler handed Hauritz a second wicket, caught at second slip by Ponting. New Zealand reached tea 98 runs adrift at 167-8, before Iain O’Brien and Chris Martin both completed pairs.

The Black Caps will look to bounce back in their two-Test series against the West Indies, starting in Dunedin on 10 December.