The Ashes 2013-14 December 11, 2013

Lyon a likely starter in Perth


Nathan Lyon is expected to retain his place for the third Test at the WACA, with the coach Darren Lehmann reluctant to ask too much of his fast bowlers in the exceptionally hot weather expected in Perth over the next week. The forecast for the first three days is for top temperatures of 38C, before 39C on day four and 37C on the final day, and while the heat will bake the pitch and provide extra bounce and carry, it also has the potential to cook the fast bowlers.

Australia have played an all-pace attack in two of the past three Perth Tests and succeeded on both occasions, against India in 2011-12 and in the most recent Ashes Test at the WACA in 2010-11. Last summer, Australia's fast men took 16 wickets against South Africa and Lyon collected three in a heavy loss, but Lehmann said while consideration would be given to including James Faulkner, the more likely scenario was that Lyon would hold his place.

"We'll have to look at the wicket first and foremost, see what it's like. If we think it warrants him [Faulkner] playing and the four quicks so be it," Lehmann said. "But, look, it's going to be hot weather here - it's 35 and getting up to 40 on Monday - so we'll probably ... I think we'll play the spinner. Again, we've got to work out who has pulled up fit from the last Test match, so good question. We'll see what happens."

In addition to Faulkner, Australia also have Doug Bollinger and Nathan Coulter-Nile on hand as back-up pacemen. There was plenty of grass on the WACA wicket on Wednesday, two days out from the Test, but that was expected to be cut back before the match.

The curator Matt Page, in charge of his first Test after the departure of his predecessor Cam Sutherland, said he expected the pitch to look whiter by the start of the match and he said it would be quicker than the early-season Sheffield Shield matches, and the surface on which England played their opening tour game of the trip.

"With the weather we're going to get - 37, 38 - it's pretty conducive and will bake the surface and definitely help it go through better," Page said. "I'm pretty confident there'll be some pace and bounce. The last Shield games here have been quite good. I'm confident it will be exactly the same."

Mitchell Johnson claimed five wickets in a Shield match against South Australia at the WACA in early November and bowled with impressive intensity, in a foreshadowing of his Ashes performances over the first two Tests. But Page said Johnson could expect even more assistance from the surface for the Test than he did in that Shield game.

"He only played one Shield game here - first game of the season - and he was pretty happy with it," Page said. "I think this one will be quicker than that one was.

"Spinning-wise you'll get the footmarks day four, day five. You'll get a bit of turn out of there. Spinners here normally get the bounce more than anything."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • moginraj on December 12, 2013, 8:13 GMT

    im an indian fan, im looking forward to the perth test!!! shud be fun to watch!!!!

  • Michael on December 12, 2013, 3:17 GMT

    Jagger - Finch? Seriously? Just cos Henriques got a 100 last week doesn't mean he should be in the Test side. White or Hughes are the in form batsmen outside the team at the moment (North is taking a break as far as I know).

  • James on December 12, 2013, 2:48 GMT

    Not selecting Lyon on this pitch would be silly. With Watson fit we already have 4 pacemen anyway. But anyone who has watched much of Lyon in Australia would know that his biggest weapon is his bounce. Swann likes low turners because he gets balls to shoot low and flat and dismisses batsmen bowled or lbw. However, on these types of pitches in Australia (e.g. days 4-5 in Adelaide) Lyon's bounce is too consistent to trouble good batsmen. I think he will be more valuable at the WACA than he was in Adelaide, at least as a wicket-taker - just like he was at the Gabba.

  • James on December 12, 2013, 1:28 GMT

    Hey Jagger, why stop with Finch at number three? Let's go the whole hog. Open with the Marsh brothers. Billy Birmingham at number five. John Howard to replace Lyon and bowl his tweakers into the Freemantle Doctor. Victory is ours!

  • Frank on December 12, 2013, 1:23 GMT

    @Jagger great side! Putting finch in at 3 is a great idea he is ripping shield attacks appart with 141 runs at 17.6! With an even better Carreer avg of 28.also sidds has to go, averaging 22 with the ball is not good enough, and Lyon is finally finding some ground in international cricket but screw it we'll dropped him too. And in there place, my favorite, bits and pieces all rounders!!! Playing 1 or 2 in India failed miserably but hey, 3 of them should do the trick. And it's just common sense to play one of your best batsmen at number 8.

    Thank God you are not a selector suggesting such a team after two convincing wins.

  • Gopala on December 12, 2013, 1:20 GMT

    To all this Steve Smith is a fighter, all remember he was one of the better batsmen last summer when Aussies were in England. One or two innings he goes without a big score does not mean he be dropped. He truly proved his good stay in this Aussie team and played much better than top ranked batsmen. Don't need to name them here. Other hand he provides another spin option to Clarke and proved time and again a partnership breaking bowler. Sometimes friends some players bring mateship and gel well into the team and do play their part. One such cricketer is this guy. Remember initial days of Steve Waugh and later how disciplined batsman he was. People talked of some kind of technique etc kind of things against him as well in his initial days.

  • Andrew on December 12, 2013, 0:58 GMT

    @Michael Flynn - shhhhh! I think that too!

  • Andrew on December 12, 2013, 0:57 GMT

    @Jagger on (December 11, 2013, 13:37 GMT) - he has the most wickets for an offie at the Gabba (ever)! So the acid Test is not at the WACA. Then you mention Finch....... enuff said!

  • Richard on December 12, 2013, 0:00 GMT

    @Yogi108:- I would suggest it's a little misleading to judge Faulkner's batting abilities from that ODI hundred in India. He has yet to make a first class hundred and perhaps therefore doesn't warrant selection in the top 6. We Aussie fans are thrilled thus far with the series, but we're also painfully aware of our batting's ability to fall suddenly in a heap and we also know England are no mugs. Dare we risk such a gamble?

  • M on December 11, 2013, 23:16 GMT

    @Jagger; you can't be serious with that side...honestly?? Finch, Faulkner, Henriques and Coulter-Nile? Finch is doing precious little for Vic at the moment so including him must be based on his T20 form, Faulkner hasn't played anything other than ODI's of late so that must be his mile-stick. Henriques played ok in his appearance but no better than Smith... and as for NCN - well I am no sandgroper and can't say I have been watching him overly close but I believe his season so far has been very lacklustre... Are you sure you aren't some Mumbai T20 fan in disguise??

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