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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 11 March, 2003, 17:30 GMT
Lee rises to challenge
By Thrasy Petropoulos
BBC Sport in Port Elizabeth

There was a moment during Australia's crushing win over New Zealand when Brett Lee's license to thrill seemed to have been permanently revoked.

Lee bowls Andrew Adams
No doubt: Andre Adams is beaten all ends up
Shane Bond had thundered in take six wickets and record the best figures by a Kiwi bowler on one-day duty.

And Lee, in reply, had barely registered a crackle with figures of none for 31 from five.

It had not been the first time, either, that Lee had been treated in this way at the World Cup.

Against Zimbabwe and England he had combined figures of two for 121 from 20 boundary-filled overs.

So much for the blond bombshell from Wollongong.

But then Ricky Ponting threw him the ball for a second spell, with New Zealand on 102/5, Stephen Fleming still at the crease, and the possibility of a tight finish remaining.

Lee's 11th ball of the new spell was a short one - Fleming spotted it and opted to pull, but the ball was quicker than he anticipated and he gloved to Adam Gilchrist.

Five overs later and it was all over as Lee wrapped up the four remaining wickets at a cost of three runs.

If Fleming was the most important of his victims, Andre Adams was the most spectacular as a 96mph delivery knocked back the off stump.

But the most satisfying of all would have been that of Bond.

Not only did it wrap up the match and give Lee his fifth wicket, but it sent a message to the upstart who had dared challenge his status as king of the quicks.

Brett Lee with the match ball
Lee claims his souvenirs
It was a similar story with Shoaib Akhtar earlier in the tournament.

Shoaib had spoken at length about how he couldn't care less about breaking 100mph - which could only mean that he was desperate to do so.

And he did, reaching a speed of 100.2mph (161.3kmh) against England.

Out came Lee against the same opponents - indeed it was the same batsman, Nick Knight - and bowled possibly the fastest over on record.

With the final ball of his second over he broke the magic 160kph mark (Aussies, being metric, don't concern themselves with mph).

So what if it was 0.15 under 100mph, the point had been made?

Speed, of course, isn't everything but it's as good a measure of Lee's drive as anything.

Twelfth man at the start of the winter, he bowled himself back to regular selection during the Ashes series.

And in the second VB series final against England - the last time he took five wickets in a one-dayer - he polished off the tail when defeat seemed likely with only 14 runs needed.

And so back to New Zealand and Australia's eventual stroll in St George's Park.

"When the ball starts to tail in like it did today it excites fast bowlers like me," Lee said afterwards.

"If you put it in the right place, you either get it on the toe or you bowl them out."

Sounds so simple.

Australia bowler Brett Lee
"It's always a challenge to play against Bond"

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