Lee puts a huge price on Smith''s head

Australian fast bowler Brett LeePerth, Dec. 16 : Australian spearhead Brett Lee says Australia''s priority must be to maintain their vice-like grip on Graeme Smith as part of the effort to leave some early scars on South Africa in the first Test.

Lee was quick to accept the extra responsibilities that will fall to him in the absence of his injured new-ball partner Stuart Clark.

The Proteas captain comes into the three-Test series, starting at the WACA Ground tomorrow, as the leading run-scorer this year.

Smith has 17 Test centuries, but none against Australia, and his overall average of nearly 50 slumps to 22 against the world''s No. 1 side.

None of this diminishes Lee''s admiration for Smith.

"We know what we are up against with Graeme Smith and the reason we have had success against him in the past is we have done our homework," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Lee, as saying.

"We will be trying our hardest to try and do the things we have done in previous games to try and knock him over," he added.

Lee has claimed Smith''s wicket four times in Test cricket, twice trapping him leg before, and remains wary of his destructive capabilities.

"I really like the style of cricket that Graeme Smith plays. I think he is aggressive but a nice guy off the field, and I think if you combine those two you are looking at a pretty decent cricketer. His runs back that up as well, with his average. He has got some big scores against us as well, but the first Test, especially the first session, is going to sum up the whole series," Lee said.

"If we bowl first we need to really set the tone. If Graeme Smith gets away, which he has shown on a number of occasions especially against other countries, then he can lock himself in for a big score. That happens here at Perth. If a batsman gets away here, there''s a lot of gaps and it is a pretty quick outfield - so it can be relentless for a fast bowler," he added.

Lee insisted he would not be drawn into a pace contest with South Africa''s fancied fast-bowling contingent. (ANI)