Australia need more Lyon-hearted performances in ongoing Test series against India
Washington : In a once-dominant team humbled by a cheating scandal and still racked with doubts about its identity, spinner Nathan Lyon has been a reassuring throwback to an age of hard-bitten Australian cricketers who talked the talk and walked the walk.
After India completed a 31-run victory in the series-opener on Monday, few of captain Tim Paine`s players will report for duty at the Perth second test with enhanced reputations.
Lyon, however, is not one of them as he burnished his stature at Adelaide Oval by anchoring a gritty tail-end push for a final day victory after he had taken eight wickets with the ball.
Australia may have failed in their bid to pull off an unlikely victory, but Lyon ended the match unbeaten on 38 as he ran out of partners at a venue where he wore overalls as a groundsman eight years ago.
A cult hero in Australia, the 31-year-old has been nicknamed the `GOAT` — “Greatest of All Time” — for good reason.
His 326 test wickets is a record for an Australian off-spinner, more than double the 141 taken by Hugh Trumble more than a century ago.
But the man known as “Gazza” to his team mates has become much more than a sum of his statistics, and seems to add a new string to his bow every season.
Last year under captain Steve Smith, who is currently serving a suspension for ball-tampering, Lyon became the team`s unofficial sledger-in-chief in the lead-up to the Ashes.
He first tore into the 2013-14 England team that were whitewashed 5-0 and spoke of “ending careers” in Joe Root`s side on their subsequent tour Down Under in a rant that was denounced widely in British newspapers.
He backed up his words with 21 wickets as Australia thrashed England 4-0 to regain the urn they had relinquished in 2015.