I asked him 'what do you do that I don't do?': Nathan Lyon reveals Sri Lanka legend's blunt, career-changing response
- It was in 2011 that a young Nathan Lyon made his debut and removed batting icon Kumar Sangakkara with his first ball in Test cricket.
Pitches in Sri Lanka turn from day one and Australia, who tour the island nation for a two-match Test series, will rely heavily on their premier spinner Nathan Lyon. The Pat Cummins-led side into the five-day games from June 29 at the back of a recent 1-0 Test triumph in Pakistan where it played two draws before winning the final game. (Watch: Indian players asked to 'not sign autographs, take selfies' during warm-up match; Rishabh Pant does it anyway)
Lyon, who has claimed 427 wickets in 108 Tests, was a part of the Australian team that suffered a 3-0 whitewash in Sri Lanka in 2016. As he gears for another challenge against the islanders, Lyon has recalled a chat with Rangana Herath and explained how the legendary tweaker changed his outlook while bowling in subcontinent conditions.
It was in 2011 when Lyon made his debut and removed batting icon Kumar Sangakkara with his first ball in Test cricket in Galle.
"I said, 'What do you do that I don't do?' And he said, 'I know that if I put the ball in one spot, you blokes will stuff up'. Those were his exact words. That's a pretty simple mindset. (What) I took out of it was, the secret to everyone's success is if you can challenge their defence for long periods of time, you'll be able to create chances," said Lyon.
"That's what (Herath) did extremely well. He challenged our defence for long periods of time, and he got the rewards."
Lyon also spoke about training with Muttiah Muralitharan during a week-long training camp at Colombo's SSC Ground back in 2014. "I trained with Murali, batted against Murali, bowled with Murali for two or three hours a day," said Lyon, recollecting his first experience with the legendary off-spinner, during a week-long camp at Colombo’s SSC ground back in 2014.
"So it was pretty remarkable spending time with him here in Sri Lanka, probably the greatest Sri Lankan cricketer to ever play the game, definitely the greatest (Sri Lankan) bowler.
"Talking to Murali, it's not about me trying to bowl like him, it's more of a mindset thing. I think I've been able to really learn off so many people around the world, but Murali's mindset was pretty unique,” Lyon added.
The off-spinner also said that their win over Pakistan in March has given them confidence that they can win in the subcontinent. "It's purely the belief that our process and what we are doing is starting to work. We all know how hard it is to win games of Test cricket away from home."