Cricket World Cup 2011

Lion-hearted Lee spills blood

2011-03-25 09:31

Ahmedabad - Plenty of captains and players talk about being ready to spill blood for their team, but Australia's Brett Lee actually did just that in the World Cup quarter-final defeat by India.

The game was almost up for the reigning champions when fast bowler Lee, who has repeatedly fought back from a series of injuries, sprinted round the boundary and dived full length in a bid to stop a pull from Yuvraj Singh off Shane Watson from crossing the rope in the 43rd over.

Lee, one of the most popular players in the world game, and a particular favourite in India where he has even enjoyed chart-topping music success, got a hand to the ball.

But unfortunately for him he could only deflect it into his own face, causing a cut to the side of his right eye that saw blood gush out in a manner more reminiscent of a boxer than a cricketer.

"If we all had that sort of attitude and that will in his eyes to get the job done, then things may have been slightly different," said Australia captain Ricky Ponting.

Thursday's incident summed up plenty about Lee, just as much as the shot of Andrew Flintoff consoling him after England's two-run win in the third Ashes Test at Edgbaston in 2005, where the Australian nearly won the game with the bat.

Sadly for Lee and Australia, that too was a memorable portrait of a loss.

Lee had to go off for attention on Thursday, but was soon back on the field with a plaster covering the cut.

As India closed in on their target of 261, Ponting turned to his champion 34-year-old spearhead for one last effort.

But instead Lee saw left-hander Yuvraj, who made 57 not out, cover-drive him for four to end a match India won by five wickets with 14 balls to spare, to set-up a semi-final against arch-rivals Pakistan in Mohali on March 30.

It seemed an almost cruel fate for Lee, who had to contend with elbow and ankle injuries, stress fractures and side strains throughout a career which saw him try to give his body a break when he called time on Test cricket last year.

"He has given a lot for Australian cricket his whole career, there's no doubt about that," said Ponting.

"He's kept coming back from injury, for someone to be bowling the way he is at his age, and what he has put his body through over the years, is an amazing achievement.

"He's the sort of guy you love having in your team, he never stops trying, as you saw tonight.

"He'll be shattered in there, he's worked really hard to get back here to give it one last crack."


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