AS AUSTRALIA'S fast bowlers strained for a breakthrough without success, Brett Lee lamented the lack of zest in Test pitches around the nation and described Adelaide Oval's second-Test strip as ''the most amazing batting pitch I've ever seen''.

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It was, Lee said, a good time to be a retired fast bowler. Australia piled on more runs on day one (5-482) than a team has scored in a day's play in more than a century. South Africa took the last five Australian wickets for 68 before lunch on day two through sheer perseverance, leaving the home attack to struggle in baking heat, on an unresponsive pitch.

Tough slog ... Ben Hilfenhaus and Peter Siddle on day two of the Second Test match against South Africa.

Tough slog ... Ben Hilfenhaus and Peter Siddle on day two of the Second Test match against South Africa. Photo: Getty Images

The 138-run opening stand between Graeme Smith and Alviro Petersen wasn't broken by a bowler. Instead, it ended because of an amateur mix-up between the batsmen and an accurate throw from Mike Hussey. The only other wicket didn't fall to a frontline bowler. It was plucked by the occasional but crafty leg spin of David Warner.

Lee was disheartened by the lack of assistance for fast bowlers in Brisbane, and said the traditionally placid Adelaide pitch had become even more of a batsman's haven because the boundaries have been shortened for the ground's redevelopment.

A top-edged hook from Warner sailed into the construction zone over the fine leg fence, which used to be one of the longer boundaries in world cricket. Lee recalled another six, from Hussey, that could ordinarily have been caught at chest height.

''[Day one] was one of the best days of Test cricket you could ever watch, scoring at five and a half an over the whole day,'' Lee said. ''But from a bowler's point of view it's tough work. Australia were 3-55 and fought back really well but that is the most amazing batting wicket I've ever seen. It's hard work for the quicks - spin will come into play - but I would personally love to see a little bit more juice in wickets.

''The three things against the fast bowler here are it's a beautiful batting wicket, the outfield is so lightning fast, and the boundaries have been brought in,'' he added. ''They're there for players' safety but we've seen that many fours hit. Nothing against Michael Clarke, he smoked them. But I don't understand, with the calibre of players we have, new bats, all these different shots, yet we still bring the boundaries in tighter. So I would put a bit more in the wickets for the quicks and have the boundaries out as much as possible.

''When you're playing in India you know you'll get low, slow turning wickets but in a place like this, I think it's a great cricket wicket but if there was a little bit more in it for the bowlers it would make it more entertaining. Again, you can't take it away from Michael Clarke, the way he is batting at the moment he would have done that anywhere.''

Lee said he doubted the Test pitch at the WACA Ground, the venue for next week's third Test, would display its traditional characteristics. ''I just hope that's got the carry and the bounce that we want to see in Perth. I don't reckon it will, personally.''

Morne Morkel was rewarded for his tirelessness with the first five-wicket haul in the series. As Morkel noted before the match, Adelaide pitches become more hazardous for batting on days four and five, and not just for the spinners. Uneven bounce can help the quicks, too. If the 2006 Adelaide Test is a guide, when England made 551 in the first innings and lost, this match could still build to a thrilling crescendo.