Australia v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Melbourne

Can Lyon turn fourth-innings predator?

Nathan Lyon's development as a slow bowler still requires a growing appreciation of the subtle changes in his role from innings to innings

Daniel Brettig

December 20, 2012

Comments: 58 | Text size: A | A

Nathan Lyon sends down a delivery, Australia v South Africa, 2nd Test, Adelaide, 3rd day, November 24, 2012
Nathan Lyon has been at his most dangerous in the second innings of Tests, after Australia have posted a healthy score © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Nathan Lyon
Series/Tournaments: Sri Lanka tour of Australia
Teams: Australia

Some years ago, on the final morning of a Test match in which Australia needed nine wickets to close out a victory, their young spin bowler revealed the fragility of his thinking to a team-mate. What worried him most in the hours before taking up his fourth innings residency at the bowling crease? Was it a particular batsman, a ball not coming out of the hand right, a slim prior record of achievement? All of the above, and more. "I'm worried about being thumped all around the ground in front of my friends," he confided, "and never playing for Australia again." Terror.

After all, the fourth innings is when spinners must prosper, taking advantage of a deteriorating surface and opposition minds tired by four days of combat to complete the job started by the fast men. With conditions and scoreboard in their favour, international slow bowlers must cope with the strain of expectation, not only from the rest of the team but the rest of the country. Whether they will admit to it or not, all harbour the same self-recriminating thought: "If you can't get us over the line here, what good are you, really?"

The young spin bowler paralysed with performance anxiety that day was none other than Shane Warne, the team-mate Ian Healy. They were on their way to the MCG in 1992, for the conclusion of a match that would be remembered for Warne's 7 for 52, a bewitching afternoon starting with his first flipper to dismiss a Test batsman - Richie Richardson dumbfounded for 52 - and ending when Courtney Walsh skied a leg break to a waiting Merv Hughes. It was the spell that heralded Warne's arrival, for he had contributed precisely at the moment he was most needed, overcoming the doubts harboured even by the very best exponent of his craft.

"There was a lot of talk about it being time for Shane Warne to deliver," he recalled in later years. "I'd been smashed all over the park by everyone. That Boxing Day Test made me feel I finally belonged in the side. If I could bowl like that I knew I could take wickets at international level whoever we were playing. Test level is not about skill, it's about attitude, and the way you think about it, and having the confidence to deliver."

A reminder that Warne doubted himself when confronted by his moment will be of consolation to Nathan Lyon as he battles through the frustrations of Hobart, and a final day devoid of the vindication brought by wickets. As in Adelaide against South Africa, Lyon was at his least dangerous on the day when he should have been at his most, for reasons variously attributed to a rushed approach between deliveries, an emphasis on economy over tantalising flight, and a pace too quick to allow the ball to swerve, dip and spin.

Lyon by innings

  • 1st innings: 14 wickets at 33.64
  • 2nd innings: 19 wickets at 28.57
  • 3rd innings: 11 wickets at 36.81
  • 4th innings: 12 wickets at 30.75

Warne's words about attitude and confidence trumping basic skill in Test matches are heavy with meaning, and they go some way to explaining why Lyon has been more effective for Australia in the first halves of Test matches than the second. Lyon's best returns, helped greatly by the fact he claimed 5 for 34 on debut against Sri Lanka in Galle, have been in the second innings of a match, after his team have batted first and put up a score. In those circumstances he has claimed 19 wickets at 28.57, capitalising on both the runs he has behind him and the batsmen's eagerness to attack someone bowling at lesser velocities than those of Peter Siddle et al on pitches that are still to deteriorate.

As a spin bowler, Lyon has shown himself adept at duelling with batsmen seeking to hit him into submission. He enjoys the challenge of teasing and wrong-footing a player intent on destruction, often responding to a boundary with a ball flighted even higher, and almost as often being rewarded with a wicket. He learned how to use a batsman's aggression against him when playing for Canberra in the Futures League, and when plucked from obscurity by the South Australia coach Darren Berry to play Twenty20 he showed an outstanding knack for using attack as the best means of defence in a format weighted towards the mores of free-swinging hitters. Lyon's love for these contests is clear, and nothing delights him more than drawing a batsman into an indiscriminate stroke.

Test matches, though, afford a batsman time to settle, and require a spin bowler to be more resourceful in drawing his quarry out. This is never more pertinent than in the fourth innings of a Test, when spinners become seen less by batsmen as an avenue for scoring than a cloister for monastic self-denial. If prepared to be patient, it is presently possible for a batsman to shut Lyon down, for his off-spinning gifts do not yet extend far enough to include the sort of venomous deliveries capable of regularly confounding a defensive dead-bat.

Here is the point at which Lyon's attitude and confidence - those words of Warne's - are critical. For three quarters or more of the game in the 21st century, a spin bowler knows he is most likely dealing with batsmen sweating on the chance to attack. For that vital last quarter of a Test match's duration, the roles are reversed. As a tight, vertical bat defence becomes more prevalent in the closing stages, so a spin bowler's repertoire should be spiced with greater variety. That does not mean a top spinner, back spinner or dare we say it doosra every second ball. Rather, the task requires variations in flight, pace, line and degrees of spin, to lure the batsman out of his occupation and into the more cavalier posture of earlier parts of the match.

Quality is more important than quantity, and a batsman stretched in his rhythm by a spin bowler pausing at the top of his mark has often been known to play a less considered shot than one happy to hustle through a maiden at the pace dictated by a hurried tweaker. Lyon has the capacity to bowl with a twinkle in his eye and mystery from his hand, but his development as a slow bowler still requires a growing appreciation of the subtle changes in his role from innings to innings. In Michael Clarke he has a captain of empathy and skill, so there should be no fear in Lyon bowling more honeyed offerings on the final day of a Test, the better to draw the sorts of shots he has capitalised from in other formats and other innings.

Warne was himself digesting these lessons when he was chosen to face the West Indies 20 years ago. But before he spoke his terrified words to Healy on the final morning, he had given advance word of the attitude he had resolved to take into the match. "I'd rather give away a few runs and get some wickets than be economical and a non-strike bowler," Warne said on the day he was picked. "My attitude is that if I get hit to the boundary, well, who cares? Bad ball, good shot, who cares? Next ball, we start again."

Next ball, and next match. Lyon's will be on Boxing Day.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by AKS286 on (December 22, 2012, 7:51 GMT)

yes i'm agree with BoB WATSON. Oz expects lots to lyon- he gave his best. actually Oz fans taste the spin of warne, macgill, hogg. its a fault of us that we want a bicycle to win 750 cc grand prix. a school campus spinner gave his best to international level. yes he will fulfill everyone expectation and called to be spinner if match will be against tasmanian high school or St. George high school.

Posted by   on (December 22, 2012, 6:48 GMT)

I really don't understand all this talk about spinners and Warnie. First off CA should have been looking and blooding a leggie when Warnie was playing tests. They got so caught up in what Warnie was doing the opposition that they thought he would play forever. Since Warnie retired there has been a lot of spin bowlers playing for Australia. People should get off Lyon's back as he is doing the best he can, but look back and blame CA for being so short sighted.

Posted by zenboomerang on (December 22, 2012, 4:39 GMT)

@Daniel Brettig... Problem with some stats is that they don't tell the full picture... Lyon has played 11 of his 17 Tests on seamer friendly pitchs... Many of the 4th innings he has bowled in, he has been the least used of the main bowlers & even less than Watson in some 4th innings making him the part-timer... How is he supposed to be the stike bowler if he isn't used or the pitches aren't spin friendly?... Your stats actually support these facts...

Posted by warnerbasher on (December 21, 2012, 20:04 GMT)

Problem for Lyon in India is that the fast bowlers will take all the wickets and he won't get a chance to take any. That doddery Indian top order will be cruelly exposed.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (December 21, 2012, 18:52 GMT)

Australia need to find a new spinner and fast. They've got the tour to India next year, and Lyon not only doesn't turn the ball, he is basically a seamer masquerading as a spinner. Australia need to make a swift change, ditch another of their journeyman spinners and blood two new ones asap. Lyon was given a Day 5 Spinner Paradise of a pitch last test and didn't take a single wicket. Otherwise another away series defeat beckons for them. What must they give for a Swann...

Posted by OzWally on (December 21, 2012, 15:27 GMT)

Lyon may not be a Warne and may never be (most probably), but is doing a respectable job when you look at average and strike rate this early in his career. For the next match winner, take a look at 20 y.o. Adam Zampa - very impressive already. A leg spinner with already at least 3 deliveries he can land consistently.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (December 21, 2012, 9:55 GMT)

Buckets410- Lyon has alower test average than any of these in shield cricket. He's young with plenty of improvement in him. Lyon being added to the team has coincided with the Australian renaissance. yes he has his average days but at the moment he is comfortably the best prospect we have in the spinning department. He should have had Sangakkara early, that taken and then the whole game changes.

Posted by   on (December 21, 2012, 9:29 GMT)

@Buckers, you are drawing a pretty long bow to suggest that Boyce is taking wickets. 5 wickets in 4 matches this summer is not exactly balsting out allcomers. I've not seen the guy bowl and perhaps he has talent enough, but a 23 year old leggie with just 39 wickets @ 44 who is picking 1 or 2 wickets per match isn't ready. Give the guy a chance to develop...... @Whizzer801, I think you are spot on, a spinner is nothing unless his supporting fieldsman are taking the chances he creates. Part of what made Australia so great in their pomp was the extraordinary catching ability of the likes of Ponting, Taylor and M.Waugh to take blinders and the reliablity of the others to hold onto whatever came their way. Australia needs to get back to that.

Posted by _Australian_ on (December 21, 2012, 8:33 GMT)

All the poms on here seem to have poor memories. You would think England have always had world class spinners. Such typical dribble from a bunch of England supporters who feel they are experts on all things cricket. We are aware of our poor spin stocks currently.

Posted by Meety on (December 21, 2012, 8:27 GMT)

IMO - Nathan Lyon is progressing nicely. Two years ago it was Nathan Who? At 25 years of age, he is in a better place than Swanny was. So when Lyon gets to Swanny's age, I would not be surprised if he would be the leading spinner in the world. ATM (IMO), he sits nicely on the 2nd shelf of spinners behind Swann, Ajmal & rehman, but with Herath & Ojha, ahead of Ashwin & vetorri. Of all those bowlers, he is the least experienced in terms of FC matches. Plenty of upside left in Lyon. @Slysta on (December 20 2012, 10:20 AM GMT) - mate, I have seen some Pommy fans quaoting Lord Ted Dexter as wanting dry pitches for the Ashes so they can play Monty & Swann. They are afraid, you can smell it from here!

Posted by Clyde on (December 21, 2012, 7:53 GMT)

Monastic self-denial? Will there now be buying of indulgences, from the reader?

Posted by landl47 on (December 21, 2012, 6:46 GMT)

Lyon has done well considering how little experience has had and that he's bowling in Australia. An off-spinner isn't going to get great statistics on Australian tracks. I'll venture a prediction that he will do well in India.

I have to say, though, that I don't think this article does him any favours in comparing him to Shane Warne. Warney was the best bowler of any type that I've seen in over 50 years of watching cricket. Lyon is not going to be anywhere close to him, and neither is anyone else out there at the moment. Not being as good as the best ever (don't take my word for it, Warney was the only bowler voted as one of the 5 best cricketers of the 20th century) doesn't make him a bad bowler, but no-one should expect Warne-type performances from him. He'll be a valuable member of the Aus side if he just maintains his progress.

Posted by Buckers410 on (December 21, 2012, 6:19 GMT)

Drop Lyon, he doesn't know how to take wickets. look how fast he gets through his overs. Warnie used to take longer than McGrath and Lee. He needs to think about how to get a batsman out. Players like Cam Boyce, Jon Holland, Steve O'Keefe, Michael Beer etc are getting wkts. I've seen O'Keefe and Boyce take time to think about what he is bowling and get a wicket, having a plan to get a batsman out. With technology a spin bowler should know where to bowl to get a certain player out. O'Keefe and Holland and Boyce can do that but we have picked the one who can't do that. Time a strategy and....maybe a differnt Aussie spin bowler all together.

Posted by Moppa on (December 21, 2012, 5:32 GMT)

Hilarious to see our South African friend, Mr Tucker, lecturing Australian fans on spin bowling. After all, South Africa's last world class spinner was, hmmm, Hugh Tayfield from the 1950s? Perhaps he feels qualified to discuss the topic of "pie-chucking" after doing a detailed study of Imran Tahir's bowling in Adelaide...

Posted by   on (December 21, 2012, 4:27 GMT)

It's like Kerry O'Keeffe said, he needs to work on getting top spin because at the moment you very rarely see him getting the ball to drop. There was instance against SA when he dismissed Rudolph, but he doesn't get it going consistently and that's what matters. Either way, we need to hang on to him, he's the way forward. Now we just need Warnie to take Adam Zampa and Cameron Boyce under his wing.

Posted by HowdyRowdy on (December 21, 2012, 3:08 GMT)

I reckon that Lyon is doing reasonably well at this stage of his Test career. As several people have noted, he did not have the benefit of an extensive first class career behind him before his selection in the Test side, so there should be scope for natural improvement.

Lyon is fortunate to have a captain who wants him in the side and has no reluctance to bowl him.

Having said that, I recall Ashley Malletts

Posted by maf17 on (December 21, 2012, 2:10 GMT)

There's far too much pressure on Lyon. As far as spinners go, he's just a baby. Spinners dont reach their prime until they've had at least 5 or 6 seasons under their belt. He has talent and is improving. Lay off.

Posted by Marcio on (December 21, 2012, 0:56 GMT)

There's an old saying that it takes all kinds to make a world. So let's just forgive @Front-Foot-Lunge, and let him keep hissing away. personally, I think it simply isn't necessary to believe that the success and happiness of others is somehow a threat to our existence or self-esteem. But if a person wants to spend their entire day running others down and jeering even the slightest success of all but their own kind, then so be it. In the end it must be a pretty miserable existence. The internet is a haven for such people, giving them an opportunity to anonymously spread their self-fixated narcissism in public space. One can only wonder what their loved ones and work colleagues would think if they found out what they do in their spare time. The world is a big place and there's plenty here for most of us. Let's focus on enjoying the game we love, & not be distracted by the pettiness of those who don't get that we are here to enjoy ourselves, not to prevent others from being happy.

Posted by warnerbasher on (December 21, 2012, 0:27 GMT)

He's only 24 and is a good 6-7 years aways from reaching his peak as a bowler. I think he's a fine bowler who is only going to get better. Agree that he bowled to quickly on the final day in Hobart but he's still learning. His 12 wickets at 40 was a pretty good return against South Africa and certainly was far more effective than Swann whose 4 wickets against South Africa cost 77 runs apeice. I think Swann is currently a better bowler than Lyon but I suspect that Lyons will end up with a hell of alot more test wickets and thats all that matters

Posted by Shaggy076 on (December 21, 2012, 0:14 GMT)

Aks286 - The indian batting line up is week at the moment, adequate spin will be fine. Front-Foot-lunge when has any Australian pitch been a spinners paradise. Swann averaged 40 here. If the batsman are hell bent on defence then they willl find any spinner easy (besides Warne). Try and find a dominant spinner on a fifth day in history in Australia over the last 15 years. Hobart had one end that wore significantly and Starc and Siddle bowled to that end all day while Watson and Lyon bowled to the other end. Siddle bowled to the good end at the end of the day and was quite easy for the number 11 to defend him. Mikey76 - I was saying Lyon is almost the equal now of Swann (responding to the stupidity of Front-Foot-Lunges comment) wait to he has had as much expereince as Swann (dont use catches for your argument as in Perth Lyon took the best catch I have ever seen.

Posted by Ms.Cricket on (December 21, 2012, 0:04 GMT)

I think Nathan Lyon is a wonderful guy giving his all for the team. However I think he has had ample 5th day opportunities to win the match for Australia, more recently in the Tets at the Gabba, Adelaide (most ideal) and Hobart and failed to do so on all occassions. If we are to win in India in Feb/March, we need to groom two good spiinners and a spare and I cannot see any direction from Cricket Australia in that respect at all. England won in India because they had Swann and Panesar, where are similar Aussie spinners to include??

Posted by whizzer801 on (December 21, 2012, 0:03 GMT)

The heading here is "Can Lyon turn final-day predator" The answer is - he already is. He creates plenty of chances, that's all he can do. If the chances, by Wade and co aren't accepted then how is that Lyon's fault. If the 3 chances that should have been taken (Wade, Clarke and Hussey), were taken on day 5, then he woudl have had 3 wickets and we would be saying "Good Job" yet he would have done nothing different. People should comment (and write articles) based on what they see, not from the scorebook.

Posted by whizzer801 on (December 21, 2012, 0:00 GMT)

The feedback in this section is exactly why Wade should be dropped. If Lyon had a decent keeper behind the stumps he would have at least 4 more wickets for the series - and as I say that is just talking about Wade. All the experts here criticising Lyon for not taking a wicket on day 5. He had a very simple stumping missed, a simple catch dropped at slip and Hussey put down a difficult one at short leg. The two easy ones are taken by Wade and Clarke and he has 2 wickets, and the dificult one taken he has 3. So Lyon does nothing different to what he did, but ends up with 3 wickets on day 5. If that was the case - we are not even discussing this and this article would not have been written. Change the Keeper and then our spinner would be showing good results - that is where the focus should be.

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (December 20, 2012, 23:31 GMT)

Yet another nobody in a struggling team of nobodys

Posted by Mitcher on (December 20, 2012, 22:47 GMT)

@AKS286: I'm willing to go out on a limb and guess that you also said prior to the recent series that England were no chance in India. So, what value your predictions?

Posted by dunger.bob on (December 20, 2012, 22:17 GMT)

@ AKS286 on (December 20 2012, 17:19 PM GMT) : Yes, it could be that England have set the bar at a dizzying height that may never be obtained by any team, ever again. .. or it could just be that India is so poor at the moment that any sort of bowling can get them out. ... I guess we'll find out fairly soon.

Posted by JustMyOpinon on (December 20, 2012, 21:38 GMT)

He'll do fine. He'll learn to slow down and he'll be more effective when that happens. He turns the ball plenty and he gets it to jump. He's got a wrong-un which was effective against Rudolph (how quickly some SA fans forget, eh Tommy?). Anyhow he's in the team and he's getting support from the team. I think the Aussie team is on the way to something very good. Don't forget they did pretty well against SA. They were on top for two tests. If they can keep a full team on the field they will do fine.

England? I would say they are over rated. Captain Cook who is second on the number of runs scored this year did so on the back of many more innings in four more Tests than our captain... and at a less than spectacular average of 48... less than half Clarke's average and at a slow rate of scoring too. I'm happy to let the English fans talk themselves up. I am old enough to remember the talk before the '89 Tour... 'weakest Australian team ever to tour England' was all the talk. Hmmmm??

Posted by Wefinishthis on (December 20, 2012, 21:24 GMT)

I still believe, 2 years later, that apart from Lyon, Steve O'Keefe is the only other viable spinner in the country. Why does no-one talk about him? The fact that he is handy with a bat and as a captain is just a bonus. He should have been the no.1 spinner for the last ashes series where he was successful against England's lineup in the warm-up match (I said so at the time, not just in hindsight). That was just a farce of the former selection regime which I hope has ended now since the Argus review. I really hope that the selectors take both Lyon and SOK to India as our two main spinners, but they'll probably take some joke of a spinner like Beer or Doherty instead. England's recent success proved that India are vulnerable at the moment as they rebuild from the loss of their golden generation and that you need a pair of good spinners to get success there at the moment.

Posted by Someguy on (December 20, 2012, 20:00 GMT)

@Front-Foot-Lunge - Spinners don't have to spin the ball a lot to be affective. Flight and variations are more important. Look at Anil Kumble, hardly deviated from straight, yet took over 600 test wickets.

As the commentators were saying during the match, and in this article, he just needs to slow down a little and work on variations of pace, drift and dip.

Posted by mikey76 on (December 20, 2012, 18:59 GMT)

Shaggy076. I'd take Lyon over Swann any day! Good job you're not a selector then! If Lyon can take 20 wickets against India and average 33 with the bat, plus take some screamers at slip then your opinion is justified. Swann is one of the worlds MVP. 200 odd wickets from 50 tests tells you all you need to know. Pure class.

Posted by   on (December 20, 2012, 18:02 GMT)

Look he's not wiping them out in the last innings as we would like, but i've watched him closely over the last 18 months and he's a good cricketer on the rise. India may be a bridge to far at this point but i am hoping that, unlike with Hauritz, these selectors are a bit more more long term thinking. Over the long term i think we can expect Lyon to become a cornerstone of a pretty good Australian attack.

Posted by AKS286 on (December 20, 2012, 17:19 GMT)

what is a spinner and how to play in india- eng set a landmark. if anyone who watched ind vs eng so closely then understand how well eng bowler bowls and how cook single handly contributed with the bat to won the mumbai & kolkata test. how tough swann & monty are to perform on indian pitch. if any country wants to register win over india then without two quality and world class spinner its a dream. SA won in ind because of the AFRICAN DEADLY BARRAGE(steyn,morkel,philander, de lange, tsotsobe). but Oz don't have two quality & world class spinner & good fast bowlers(in sub continent condition), then how Oz will won even warne is always thrashed by indians. how Oz will face 4 spinners. ENG really set a landmark under this series. hats off.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (December 20, 2012, 16:37 GMT)

@Mervo "If he can do well in Australia".

But he doesn't take a wicket on a day 5 spinners paradise of a pitch. And is yet another Australian spinner to be the butt of so many jokes because he's so rubbish. And he doesn't turn he ball, which you'd thing a spinner should be able to do. Apart from that you should have total confidence in him..

Posted by Beertjie on (December 20, 2012, 15:48 GMT)

The Aussie bowler with tantalising flight, and excellent change of pace to allow the ball to swerve, dip and spin is recovering from injury (who isn't?). Jon Holland will be fit for the Ashes but not match tight. Pick him and arrange for him to play any level of cricket in England before the tests. He'll account for KP, if no one else!

Posted by   on (December 20, 2012, 12:33 GMT)

Australia are ok but they will lose 2-0 in India, 3-0 in England and 2-1 in Australia next summer. You have heard it here first. Although you may of thought it also. Lyon is a good cricketer, not a match winner although he might get a 4 or 54 4th inn wickets every 10 tests. This is the norm for 99% of spinners, the others are Shane Warne and Murali.

Posted by Mervo on (December 20, 2012, 12:22 GMT)

AKS286 - a reason that Herath did so well was the batsmen were slogging to make fast runs. Did you miss that?

Posted by Mervo on (December 20, 2012, 12:20 GMT)

With his bounce Lyon will certainly do well in India and better than some of their current spinners, that is for sure. If he can do well in Australia, and Indian spinners could not last time or the time before, then he will thrive in India. He is still learning and Warne's words are great advice, as usual.

Posted by brusselslion on (December 20, 2012, 12:14 GMT)

@disco_bob on (December 20 2012, 09:52 AM GMT)

"We can only hope Lyon's first ball in England is as memorable as that one from last century". Once is enough, mate. Don't get greedy.

Even as an England supporter, I never tired of seeing Maradona's 2nd goal in '86 and "that ball" (although why do we always have to be the opposition?).

Posted by brusselslion on (December 20, 2012, 12:05 GMT)

The next six months will be the making or breaking of Lyon as a Test cricketer. I can't see India preparing anything other than rank turners for you Aussies when you visit. In that case, Lyon will not just be seen as a 5th day bowler but the leader of the attack who will be expected to take wickets from Day 1. Is he up to it? Time will tell. If he succeeds then you might have found your spinner for the next 10 years: So/so performance and he goes to England still under pressure to perform, but still having the chance to prove himself. If he fails miserably in India, he will join Doherty and the others as the 'never have beens' and you'll be left hoping that we get a wet summer in England next year.

Posted by sawifan on (December 20, 2012, 12:03 GMT)

Why r Indian fans shooting their mouths off and making bold predictions?! One would think after 'the 4-0 revenge' never materialized, they'd have learned to keep quiet. Lyon actually took a 5-for the last time he bowled to team IND in a test, so maybe u should keep quiet and wait. Lyon is far from great, but our cupboard is bare, and his Test stats really aren't too bad as yet. However, i feel he will never truly be a match-winner, but over the past 20 years, how many spinners truly have been, regularly?!

Posted by inefekt on (December 20, 2012, 11:57 GMT)

He's doing an adequate job, which is all you can ask of a spin bowler. He's averaging in the low 30's, typical of a decent spin bowler. Sure, he's not a strike bowler like Warne or Murali but they're rare in a spin bowler. Anybody expecting the next coming of Warne are sadly deluded, don't expect the likes of SKW for another generation or three. Also, it doesn't help a spin bowler when he has a horrible keeper behind the wickets, missing catches and stumpings every innings.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (December 20, 2012, 11:56 GMT)

I'd take Lyon everyday over Swann, still 24 and made his debut long before Swann ever did. His record speaks for itself and if he was such a rank player why didnt the South African team try to win in adelaide and Sri Lanka in Hobart he is well respected by the opposition so it really doesnt matter what a few clowns with a keyboard in front of them think of him. Every tour he has played in has outperformed the opposition spinner and again did it in the first innings in HObart.

Posted by VivtheGreatest on (December 20, 2012, 11:42 GMT)

Lyon wouldnt get any wickets even on rank turners over here in India, forget the 4th innings in Australia. Mediocre, to say the least.

Posted by   on (December 20, 2012, 10:50 GMT)

Lyon is just a slow bowler with no variations. No match for international level should have stopped playing at club level

Posted by AKS286 on (December 20, 2012, 10:36 GMT)

this is all due to the Herath. Herath tried to release the pressure for 5th day so he delivered a joke is that "lyon will be threat on day 5". and herath also played the mental game because herath took 5 wickets so he give a statement. if clarke will use lyon more than starc, siddle then chance of draw will increase.

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (December 20, 2012, 10:35 GMT)

How many pies does a pie-chucker chuck? One of the poorest spinners I've seen in Aussie colours for 20years.

Posted by AKS286 on (December 20, 2012, 10:30 GMT)

problem is with Oz fans & CA. you all expect a wold class performance from school boy cricketer. he is a clarke's boy. Oz must go with the 4 pace attack and clarke, warner will do spin. since ashes Oz fans not only compares but try to advocate that he is better than swann, ajmal, herath, panesar, ojha,etc not only this much but they also comment that after warne he is the best. lyon is a good spinner if match is in school campus. @pakeeran siriratnam spin does't only mean to big turns look at Kumble.

Posted by Slysta on (December 20, 2012, 10:20 GMT)

Methinks FFL must be a bit worried about Lyon, else why would he do little else in his waking hours other than unload on him. Sure he's not yet as good a bowler as Swann, but there's little shame in that. He will improve with experience and time... ten years ago, young Jimmy Anderson was a laughing-stock in Australia, and deservedly so. Times change. Cricketers improve. Lyon was good enough to take 12 wickets @ 40 in 3 Tests against the Proteas here - maybe not stellar numbers, but much better than Swann could do in England against the same opponents. Lyon's career stacks up well against Panesar's at the same career stage, and he looks a better bowler than the young Monty, too. Lyon has form against the Indians as well, so Australia's biggest problem will be the second spinner over there, because unfortunately there is probably no other spinner in the country at present who provides a better option than Clarke himself... which is pretty depressing...

Posted by   on (December 20, 2012, 9:57 GMT)

Front Foot Lunge, I believe day one he got a 5-for including Sanga first ball. Ig you don't believe he flight the ball you'd better get your eyes checked. 10x better than Giles ever was

Posted by disco_bob on (December 20, 2012, 9:52 GMT)

We can only hope Lyon's first ball in England is as memorable as that one from last century.

Posted by JesseV on (December 20, 2012, 9:37 GMT)

The guy is doing fine. Lyon only made his First Class Debut about 8 months before his Test debut. Alot of learning to be done. He always tries and has been unlucky on occasion. But of course there is improvement to be done, and i'm sure he is working hard to better himself. He

Posted by Barnesy4444 on (December 20, 2012, 9:06 GMT)

The same was being said about Nathan Hauritz not long ago. He picked up two, 4th innings 5 wicket hauls and was dropped shortly after!! Spinners have been badly mismanaged the last few years, it's understandable Lyon is anxious. Give him a go, he is still inexperienced at first class level.

Posted by   on (December 20, 2012, 8:59 GMT)

I don't think he has done too badly, certainly if you threw in a couple of very easy missed stumping chances off his bowling his season figures would look quite a bit better. The only time when he has been totally non-effective was the second/third day in Perth, hardly a crime for a spin bowler. Having bowled against two pretty strong batting line-ups on batting friendly wickets i'd give him a pass..... With the season progressing and the wickets getting a little drier all the while i'd expect him to keep up his useful performances in Melbourne and Sydney. His bowling is only going to get better.

Posted by Smithie on (December 20, 2012, 8:23 GMT)

Insightful analysis. Hopefully Lyon reads this article and also uses the barbs of FrontFoot Lunge as prime motivation to make him eat his words over the next Ashes encounters. Work with him Warnie to get into the correct mind set.

Posted by   on (December 20, 2012, 8:06 GMT)

I find it amazing that people (read SELECTORS) are ready to drop an almost new spin bowler on the basis of a couple of matches when ALL the experts claim it takes 5 to 10 years at first class level for a spinner to learn his craft. (Note that Lyon has been playing first class cricket about 3 years now.)

Posted by   on (December 20, 2012, 7:47 GMT)

@Front-Foot-Lunge, Swann the biggest turner of a ball? Are you kidding me? Murali, Warne and Ajmal turn the ball far more than Swanny, and Swann will be the first person to admit that

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (December 20, 2012, 7:33 GMT)

Shouldn't it be a pre-requisite that a spin bowler can turn the ball? Not in Australia. Lyon is the worst 'spinner' in international cricket. He is actually a seamer masquerading as a spinner. And Australia continue to carry him along simply because there is no one else for them. Lyon's biggest problems emerged from day one- He doesn't turn the ball, gets no loop. Compare this sorry excuse for a bowler to the long-established biggest turner of a ball in cricket, Swann. What must Australia give for Swann in the team? And how long can they continue to carry dead weighs like Lyon, Wade, Hughes and all the other minnows?

Posted by Clan_McLachlan on (December 20, 2012, 7:32 GMT)

Much ado about nothing. 12 wickets at 30 for a spinner of Lyon's limited ability is doing just fine. Move along, nothing to see here.

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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