Mumbai: Former Australian speedster Brett Lee on Friday said he was not surprised by the Chennai pitch and backed his country to bounce back in the four-Test series despite suffering an eight-wicket defeat in the first match against India at the M A Chidambaram Stadium.
"I am not surprised by the conditions over here. The ball does turn square in India but we all know that as foreign players coming over here we have to deal with the conditions here... because when you are playing in India, it's all about how do we deal with the spin and we know that that's what is going to happen," 36-year-old Lee said at a promotional event.
"We should choose a team that is appropriate, naturally when you have to play spin. I am not surprised with the (turning) wickets when you know it is going to happen in India," said Lee. The Chennai pitch, on which the Indian spin trio of R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Harbhajan Singh captured all 20 Australian wickets, had drawn criticism as the track turned from the first day itself, but Lee said one always expects spinning pitches in India.
The ex-pacer, who took 310 wickets from 76 Tests, was optimistic about Australia's chances in the remainder of the rubber and cautioned against writing off the team led by Michael Clarke. "I just think with what has happened in the series, India one-nil up its exciting... But don't write Australia off yet.
I think Australia has got a lot more to offer. So I am looking forward to a big game tomorrow (second Test commencing at Hyderabad)," he said. Conceding that his country needed to buck up in both batting and bowling, Lee was confident Australia can clinch the series from the position they are in now.
"Australia needs to start well, both with bat and ball, to be competitive in the series. I have got no reason to doubt why Australia can't win the series," he said. Lee, who plays in only T20 tournaments like the Indian Premier League post retirement, said Australia had been outplayed in the Chennai game and wanted them to learn from the defeat.
"I think India has chosen their side very carefully. They have done a good job with the side they fielded in the first Test match and outplayed Australia. "What Australia now needs is to try to erase what happened in the last week, learn from what has happened, and try to put their best foot forward and try to be competitive and go to win the next game. This next game is do-or-die for Australia and we have to win it," he said.
"I will be looking forward to see the team that is chosen for tomorrow's match and also the way Australia go about playing that match. They would have to find a way to cork up the Indian batsmen and also a way to stop the Indian bowlers. It is a huge challenge ahead of Australia," he said.
"I think when you are playing in conditions you are not used to playing growing up with, it is going to be very tough. It is tough for a batsman to come onto these wickets but it is also tough for our bowlers to bowl on these wickets. In saying that it is Test cricket and that is what it is all about. It is a challenge. It is a test of the skill you have on offer."
Lee expected captain Michael Clarke to make a few changes to the playing XI. "It is a long series. I am looking forward to tomorrow when the second Test starts. I am sure Australia would go in with a different team knowing the wickets now. I think there could be a change tomorrow. I believe that India used their spinners effectively. Australia might go with a different line-up."
He praised James Pattinson for bagging six wickets in the first Test. "He did very well. He is a very good bowler and to take five wickets (in the first innings) on Indian soil is very tough to do. Everyone knows over here wickets are not conducive to fast bowling," he added.