Nathan Lyon achieves historic feat in Australian Test cricket vs Bangladesh

Nathan Lyon became the first Australian cricket team spinner since Bill O’Reily to open the bowling on Day One of a Test match. They also opted for three spinners against Bangladesh for the second Test at Chittagong

cricket Updated: Sep 04, 2017 17:48 IST
Bihan Sengupta
Bihan Sengupta
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Australian Cricket Team,Nathan Lyon,Bangladesh Cricket Team
Nathan Lyon, center, celebrates with Australian cricket teammates after the dismissal of a Bangladesh batsman in Chittagong.(AP)

Australian cricket team fielded just one front-line fast bowler and three spinners against Bangladesh for the second Test at Chittagong, a rare line-up that hadn’t been fielded in the last 79 years. Australia trail the two-match series 0-1 and roped in the services of Steve O’Keefe in an attempt to pull things back on sub-continental conditions. (Bangladesh vs Australia, 2nd Test: Scorecard)

Pat Cummins was the only regular seamer in the mix and although medium pacer Hilton Cartwright was in the squad, it was Lyon who opened the bowling with Cummins from the other end. In doing so, Lyon also became the first Australian spinner since Bill O’Reily to open the bowling on Day One of a Test match. There have been quite a few instances since then where spinners have opened bowling in the second innings of a Test with O’Keefe being the most recent example. He did so in the 1st Test at Pune earlier this year where he ended with figures of 12/70.

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The move paid off as well as Nathan Lyon and Ashton Agar did all the damage to the Bangladesh batting order right from the start. While Lyon picked up the first four wickets to fall, Agar removed the dangerous Shakib Al Hasan in the 47th over.

Smith’s decision to opt for three spinners might be an unusual one and may startle a few pundits who hail from the land that has produced the likes of Jeff Thompson, Dennis Lillee, Brett Lee and so on, but is a justified one as well. Spinners had picked up 34 off the 40 wickets that fell in the first Test and given the dustbowls that are on offer in this part of the world, it’s better to gamble than stick to the traditional gameplan. A loss in this Test would move Australia to No 6 in the Test rankings.

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Meanwhile, Cummins also became the first Australian since Jeff Thompson to be fielded as a solitary fast bowler in the playing XI. Batting all-rounder Trevor Laughlin had been paired with Thompson back in 1978 when the Baggy Greens had locked horns with West Indies in the final Test at Sabina Park.

Selector Trevor Hohns backed the selection. “We have selected a team for this Test based on playing the conditions we are faced with in Chittagong,” said selector Trevor Hohns. “The inclusion of Cartwright is warranted, he brings solid batting to the side and also gives the captain an extra medium pace option due to Pat Cummins being the only fast-bowler in the XI.”

First Published: Sep 04, 2017 16:47 IST