Offie puts spring in Oz step

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • |
  • Updated: Mar 23, 2013 23:53 IST

For a team in turmoil, Australia could not have found a better man to pull them out of the rut and push them ahead of an India team that has looked way ahead in this series. 

Nathan Lyon himself had been in some strife. In the Chennai Test, he bowled Sachin Tendulkar to provide a rare highlight for his team. Still, he was dropped for the second Test in Hyderabad, which Australia lost by an innings. The comment by coach Mickey Arthur that he had technical issues to sort out hurt him.

On Saturday, Shane Warne in the commentators' box could even have felt a touch envious as Lyon kept India's batsmen unsure, finishing with a five-wicket haul. As flashy as they come, the leg-spin great had to wait until his third Test tour of India in 2004 to make an impact, ending on the winning side.

Hard Work
Lyon is no stranger to grinding it out. He took up a job with the Adelaide Oval ground staff a year before he got his big break and made his Test debut in Sri Lanka in 2011. 

On the second day of the Delhi Test, openers Cheteshwar Pujara and Murali Vijay were going steady at 78 for no loss when stand-in skipper Shane Watson got him into the attack. It would have been tempting to get carried away by the turn afforded by the treacherous pitch, but Lyon used subtle variations to land telling blows.

He bowled Pujara with a straighter one, the one that trapped Virat Kohli leg before, bowled from around the stumps, turned just that bit to beat. He had sowed the seeds of doubts in the batsmen's minds.

Sachin Tendulkar survived a close leg before appeal on one but was helpless as one kept low. Lyon's accuracy got him three leg before decisions. He had bowled well in Mohali too but without much success after Shikhar Dhawan's explosive knock on debut put pressure on the Aussies. In Delhi, his first four wickets came in the space of 11.4 overs.

"I really enjoyed myself out there and felt quite confident. It was definitely up there as one of the days I would remember," he said. "We had some good ideas to come out here in this pitch in Delhi and really turn things around."

He praised the support role played by the pacers, who kept things  tight. "I spoke to Shane Watson about getting into the contest and that is one big thing I have worked on personally, and it worked well today. I was lucky to get five wickets but I had some good bowlers at the other end, bowling in partnerships, and that is one area we hadn't done well in the last 3 Tests."


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