Ponting backs Lee to come good
Chris Gayle and Ricky Ponting spoke to the media after West Indies won by seven wickets
Australia captain Ricky Ponting has insisted he is satisfied with Brett Lee's progress in his comeback to international cricket despite seeing the paceman struggle for form in the defeat to West Indies.
Lee, in his second international match since undergoing ankle surgery during the last New Year period, was hit for 56 runs from four overs at The Oval as Australia slumped to defeat in their ICC World Twenty20 opener.
His only wicket was that of Windies captain Chris Gayle but not before the hard-hitting left-hander had blasted a whirlwind 88.
One of Lee’s overs cost a staggering 27 runs, as Gayle, who swiped six sixes and six fours, moved into top gear.
Commentating for the BBC, former Australian Test paceman Geoff Lawson said Lee's inability to swing the ball was reminiscent of his listless performance in last summer's Test series against South Africa.
But Ponting backed the 32-year-old, saying he saw enough during the practice matches last week to be encouraged.
“He obviously got taken down a little bit but I don't think it mattered who was bowling to Chris in the sort of mood he was in,” he said.
“I'm happy with the way he's coming along.”
Ponting was also pleased with the form of Shane Watson, who bowled his first overs in a match since suffering a back injury last summer.
Watson conceded 13 runs from two overs but bowled with good speed and fluency.
“He got through pretty well I thought,” Ponting said.
“He'll just get better and better the more overs he gets under his belt. The more he bowls to better players as well he'll benefit from that a lot. He gives us great flexibility.”
Another positive for Ponting was the mature 63 from opener David Warner, who in his short career has cultivated a boom or bust reputation.
Warner was forced to rein in his explosive strokeplay after the loss of early wickets.
Ponting said Warner would most likely not have played had Andrew Symonds not been sent home.
“We were looking at doing some slightly different things with our team in this game if Symmo had have been in the middle order there,” said Ponting.
“But he wasn't so it was good for David to get that chance at the top of the order to score and I think he showed everybody just how good he can be in this form of the game.”