Nathan Lyon picked four wickets in the final session to help Australia seize the advantage against India on Day 2 of the fourth Test on Sunday. (DAY 2 BLOG)
The off-spinner, who claimed all the wickets to fall after tea, braved a finger injury as he ran through the middle-order. (DAY 2 SCORECARD)
He removed the well-set Cheteshwar Pujara (57) and Ajinkya Rahane (46) besides Karun Nair (5) and Ravichandran Ashwin (30) to leave India struggling at 248/6 in reply to Australia’s first innings 300.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling, to be pretty evenly poised after day two,” Lyon told reporters after stumps.
Lyon said the bounce on the Dharamsala wicket assisted him. “This pitch is similar to the home wickets in Australia. For me, bounce is my biggest weapon. I backed my skills and enjoyed the challenge of bowling to the best side in their conditions,” he said.
Lyon has struggled with a finger injury in his bowling hand after capturing 8/50 in the second Test in Bangalore, his career-best haul. He struggled with the injury in the drawn Ranchi Test where he took 1/163.
But the HPCA Stadium pitch offered turn and bounce when pitched up, with the cracks inducing doubts in the minds of the batsmen.
The 29-year-old heaped praise on the pace duo Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins for the disciplined and hostile spells they bowled throughout the day. Besides removing the openers, they built pressure by not conceding many runs.
“As the day progressed, I started to show a bit more variation with spin and bounce but did not do anything different. There has not been much life for the pacers in this series but the way Cummins and Hazlewood bowled has been exceptional,” Lyon said.
When asked about the nature of the wicket, Lyon said batting will become more difficult as the game progresses. “Batting will be extremely hard. We have good batters who are up for the challenge. They know the importance in the coming days and it is going to be a big challenge. I hope batting is a massive challenge even for the Indians.”
With his four wickets on Day 2 in Dharamsala, Lyon now has 63 Indian dismissals to his name. Prior to his eight wickets in the first innings in Bangalore, Lyon’s previous best career figures had also come against India, with his 7/94 during the Delhi Test in 2013, which India had won.