Australia know what they have in spin bowler Nathan Lyon

27 February 2018 - 17:04 By Khanyiso Tshwaku
Off-spinner Nathan Lyon during day 1 of the Tour match between South Africa A and Australia at Sahara Park Willowmoore on February 22, 2018 in Benoni, South Africa.
Off-spinner Nathan Lyon during day 1 of the Tour match between South Africa A and Australia at Sahara Park Willowmoore on February 22, 2018 in Benoni, South Africa.
Image: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

It's not often that Australia's most experienced and important bowler is an off-spinner but Australia know what they have in Nathan Lyon.

The fast bowling whole that consist of Pat Cummins‚ Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc is one of the best going around in the world at the moment but they're not complete without the sum of the part that is Lyon.

During the Ashes series‚ all of them took more than 20 wickets but Lyon bowled the most overs (260.1)‚ collected the most maiden overs (61) and had the lowest economy rate (2.36).

That proved to be the difference between Australia and England.

The squeeze was kept from one end by Lyon while the fast bowlers took turns in picking off England's batsmen.

Lyon knows his role very well and expects to be the punching bag with bat and ball ahead of the first Test that starts at Kingsmead on Thursday.

The former role is also going to be an important one considering the latent fragility of Australia' batting unit despite the excellence of David Warner and Steven Smith.

“I think I'm going to be used as the punching bag.

"It's a challenging one but that job is mine.

"We're going to be coming up against some of the best fast bowlers in the world but at the end of the day‚ you have to challenge yourself against the best players in the world and what better place to do it‚” Lyon said.

“I've always been one of those where if you're good enough‚ you'll always get something out of the wicket.

"I'm hopeful that the wicket will spin.

"I guess I'll have to adapt to the conditions as soon as possible and the best team that does that will come out on top. We'll have to assess and adapt as quickly as possible.”

Lyon was a groundsman in Adelaide before he developed into Australia's best ever off-spinner. He knows a thing or two about pitch preparation.

With the sides possessing venomous bowling attacks‚ viper pits masquerading as pitches won't be served up in the four Tests.

Lyon said slower surfaces should not come as a surprise for the series but the fast bowlers will play a crucial role in the series.

“It is what it is these days and you see it all around the world but in Australia we don't do it and I know that for a fact.

"I know all of the curators in Australia would tell us where to get off if we'd tell them take all the grass off and make it spin.

"It is what it is and both teams will have to play on the surface.

"It's not like the pitch will change over certain innings but I'm expecting flatter wickets from what they had in the India series‚ especially with both bowling attacks‚” Lyon said.

“There's going to be times when patience will play a role but there will be a time when our bowler go at their batters and vice versa.

"There are going to be big moments in the game where we'll need to assess them and try to come out on top in those big moments and minimise the damage in those moments.

"It's going to be about identifying those big moments.”


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