The best I’ve bowled since Test debut: Lyon
Smarting from the defeats in the first three Tests, Australia needed individual magic to lift the team in the Delhi Test. And the magic was indeed weaved during India’s first innings, by Australia’s lone spinner, Nathan Lyon.
After being taken apart by the Indian batsmen in the first Test, being dropped in the second and playing in Mohali without much success, the off-spinner inspired his team with the third five-wicket haul of his Test career. Lyon dismissed Chateshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Sachin Tendulkar, Ajinkya Rahane and R Ashwin on the second day at Kotla during his marathon 22-over spell
After reducing India to 266 for eight on the second day of the Test, Lyon spoke to the scribes about his performance. “Yes, this performance is up there,” he said, when asked if it was the best he bowled since claiming a five-for on debut in 2011 against Sri Lanka. “I really enjoyed myself and felt quite confident in the contest. So, yes, it’s the best day I can remember.”
While delighted with his own success, Lyon insisted the fifer was a result of bowling well as a unit. “I spoke to Shane Watson before the game about just getting into the contest. That’s one big thing I worked on personally, and it worked well today.
“I was lucky enough to get these wickets. I didn’t get all the wickets by myself; there were bowlers at the other end doing a great job and bowling in partnerships. That was probably one area where we didn’t do too well in the first three Tests.”
Day 2 of the fourth Test was a stark contrast to the way this series has panned out. It saw Australia play a different brand of cricket – the kind that they were known for during their glory days. There were words exchanged and engaging banter between the close-in fielders and the batsman. Lyon said that the aggression played its part in India’s collapse.
“Australia play their cricket hard and fair. We know what the limits are and we touch them, but don’t cross them. It was something we didn’t do in the first three Tests. We did it today and saw the reward in terms of putting India under pressure. We wished we did it earlier because that’s when Australia play their best cricket, when we get into a contest with the opposition,” he said.
With Michael Clarke missing the Test due to a back injury, Shane Watson made his Test captaincy debut. Lyon praised Watson’s leadership skills and said that it wasn’t difficult for him to adapt to his captaincy.
“I was quite happy to bowl under a new captain. Shane’s a great player and leader. Everyone has got so much respect for him and I thought he led the team really well today in these tough conditions,” he said. “Michael Clarke is the best captain I’ve ever played under and Shane’s not too far behind him.”