Australian quick Brett Lee on Wednesday returned fire on Indian paceman Zaheer Khan, saying the tourists were the only side trying to win the first Test in Bangalore.
As the Australian and Indian squads prepared for the second Test, to be played on a rain-affected PCA Stadium pitch, Lee said Zaheer’s tirade had made little impression.
“That’s his opinion, he’s entitled to that,” Lee said on Wednesday.
“The way we look at it too is they didn’t take our 20 wickets, which plays the fact that maybe the wicket wasn’t capable of taking those 40 wickets, so I’m not worried about that.
“If we go and worry about what they’re saying or what they’re thinking and not concentrating on what we’re doing then I think we are in strife.”
Lee said that apart from aggressive opener Virender Sehwag, none of the Indians had seemed to be thinking about any result other than a draw, almost from the moment Ricky Ponting won the toss and chose to bat first on a low, slow surface.
“You’ve only got to look back the way we bowled on the last day and the way they attacked the batting,” Lee said.
“Chasing 299 in 83 overs, there was only one team that was trying to win the match, which is great for us.
“We know, at any opportunity, that we are capable of winning – it didn’t appear that they wanted to win.
“There’s a lot of things they can say, that they had a mental win, but we were very happy with the way we played.”
The only area Lee conceded to Zaheer was how the Australians attacked the Indian tail on the third evening, when Harbhajan and Zaheer added 80 runs to stall the tourists’ march to a first innings lead.
Lee indicated that the Australians’ plan had been to bounce out the local tail, something that was not at all possible on a Bangalore pitch that saw some bouncers skid through at little more than stump height.
At one point Lee’s best effort at a bouncer rose only to Harbhajan’s hip, and the spinner had no problems swatting it over midwicket and to the boundary.
“Probably (we learned) to be a bit more patient, as a whole bowling group we probably weren’t patient enough,” Lee said.
“The wicket wasn’t capable of getting the ball above shoulder height, so the whole scare tactic, the intimidation, wasn’t playing a part because the wicket was so dead.
“We have to make sure we have better plans.
“Sometimes the tail wags, it wagged when we were batting as well.
“Harbhajan can hold the bat, so can Zaheer, we know we’re not bowling to traditional nine or 10 batsmen.”
The fitness of Stuart Clark (elbow soreness) remains Australia’s primary concern ahead of the second Test, and it will be left until tomorrow to decide whether he has come up freshly enough to play at Mohali.
Clark did not bowl at the Australians’ morning training session today, leaving open the slightest glimmer of hope for potential pace debutants Peter Siddle or Doug Bollinger.
Read previous news story – Hadden has spat with Khan