England v Australia, 4th Investec Test, Chester-le-Street August 8, 2013

Lyon seeks turn in fortunes

With the identity of Australia's specialist spinner still undecided, Nathan Lyon has much to gain - or lose - in the next two Tests
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In the lead-up to this Ashes series, Steven Smith was described in the Sun as "a bit-part leggie who bowled himself into specialist batsman status". It was an apt portrait, for Smith played his first two Tests against Pakistan in England as a frontline spinner batting at No. 8, his next three in the last, pre-Argus Ashes as a No. 6 or 7 bowling plenty of overs, and now he is a promising top-six batsman whose legbreaks are rusty, if not completely corroded.

Somehow, he is also Australia's leading spinner in the series. In the 22 overs Michael Clarke has asked of Smith in the first three Tests, he has sent down some full tosses so juicy they could be served for breakfast but he has also winkled out four wickets at 22.25, including Ian Bell twice. His bowling is Australian cricket in a microcosm: good enough at its best, park standard at its worst.

Nathan Lyon would be pretty happy to have Smith's record in this series. Left out for the first two Tests on pitches that suited spin, Lyon was brought in at Old Trafford, where there was more pace and bounce in the surface and the fast men bowled well. There was also turn, though, and Graeme Swann collected five first-innings wickets and six for the match. Lyon managed 1 for 95 from his 35 overs.

Of course, life is very different for Lyon than it is for Smith, or even for Swann. As a part-timer, Smith's introduction for a handful of overs can push a batsman into his shell, trying to avoid the ignominy of falling to him, or over the edge, trying to score too freely. Swann has the benefit of bowling to a line-up with several left-handers who must handle the ball turning away, while outside of Smith and Clarke, few of the Australians use their feet well.

Lyon must also bowl to a batting line-up stacked with right-handers, for Alastair Cook is the only member of England's top seven who bats left-handed. That was one of the reasons the inexperienced teenager Ashton Agar was preferred over Lyon for the first two Tests at Trent Bridge and Lord's, despite the fact that Lyon had taken nine wickets in his previous Test, against India in Delhi in March.

Now, the pressure is back on Lyon to show why he is the No. 1 man. Swann has collected 19 wickets at 27.36 so far in this series, while Australia's specialist spinners between them have three victims at 117.00. Not that Lyon bowled badly in his only appearance, at Old Trafford - he looped the ball at times and found some turn - but he dried up runs more than threatened wickets. Such roles are necessary in a Test attack.

But the next two Tests are a big chance for Lyon to add some important wickets to his tally on pitches that will give him some assistance. How often, for example, will he encounter sluggish, grass-free surfaces during the return Ashes series in Australia later this year? "A little bit dry and quite slow" was how Smith described the Chester-le-Street pitch for the fourth Test when he first saw it on Wednesday.

The words could just about describe Lyon. That requires clarification, for it is in no way a comment on his intelligence. Rather, it is a reflection of Lyon's easygoing attitude. He is a laid-back individual with a deadpan sense of humour. He takes everything in his stride. Even after his demotion following the Chennai Test in India earlier this year he was still smiling, pleased with how he had turned the ball through the gate to bowl Sachin Tendulkar.

MS Dhoni had demolished Lyon in that Test and at Old Trafford Kevin Pietersen threatened a similar destruction by advancing to Lyon and lofting him down the ground for sixes. Bell replicated the approach. There is no question that England's batsmen will continue to go after Lyon over the next two Tests. How he responds will be a test of his character. He is the best spinner in Australia but the selectors have shown they are willing to drop Lyon, and he cannot afford a wicket drought on dry pitches.

"We would have seen a lot more wickets if Lyono was given a chance to bowl in the second innings," Clarke said of the Old Trafford washout. "There were things Nathan wanted to work on and has done so over the last couple of months. He's spent a lot of time at the Centre of Excellence with his spin bowling coach and on the Australia A tour he had him over in England for a while.

"I think he's bowling beautifully at the moment. I think he's bowling at a good pace. He always seems to get a lot of bounce, which is a great strength to have, and watching him bowl the other day it looks like he's getting good drift away from the right-handers as well. His shape is there, which is a really positive sign, so I think he's bowling really well and I think he would have picked up a lot of wickets on that last day if given the opportunity."

The opportunity didn't come on the last day at Old Trafford, but it will over the next two Tests. There is much for Lyon to gain during these matches, for he can prove why he should have been part of this side from the first Test at Trent Bridge, and why he deserves the initial chance during the home Ashes. There is also much to lose, if he fails to have impact with wickets. By the home summer, Agar could be in the mix again and Fawad Ahmed will be considered if he starts the season well.

Lyon has ten days of Ashes cricket to lock himself in as the No. 1 spinner. Outbowling Steven Smith would be a good start.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Roodog on August 9, 2013, 4:18 GMT

    Capital Markets. I don't know what game you have been watching but Lyon spins the ball almost as much as Swann. He is generally in the 2200-2300 rpm range unless he bowls in faster. Swann can really get it up there but generally sits around that range too.

    Lyon just doesn't seem to pitch the ball up enough and seems to have pretty bad luck. He is better than Agar or Smith at the moment in that he is good enough for test cricket. I just don't think he has enough tricks and probably lacks the total confidence of the team.

    He needs to really take a game on and get some wickets then he'll be a lot more confident.

  • Mitty2 on August 9, 2013, 3:31 GMT

    Also disagree with the sentiment on Lyon's reaction to being hit by KP. He still kept flighting it up, and those who have watched Australian cricket closely over the last two years would've noticed that when he starts getting hit around (apart from against Dhoni) he almost always bounces back. The problem is is that for all of clarke's attacking mature as captain, he too doesn't give enough trust in the spinners. He's under bowled smith and he takes Lyon out of the attack way too quickly. It was just disgraceful on the third day in the morning session that Lyon only got two overs when he didnt concede any runs and no one was threatening to take wickets. It was just mind boggling because Lyon was still turning it appreciably.

  • landl47 on August 8, 2013, 22:00 GMT

    The wicket at OT didn't favour spinners; only the odd ball turned, usually from well outside the wicket, and it got slower and lower as the match went on. Swann bowled exceptionally well throughout and got 6 wickets at 38 apiece against a side that doesn't play spin well. In the second innings he hardly got any turn apart from the occasional ball. I don't think Lyon would have bothered the England batsmen at all; his job would have been to use up time while Siddle and Harris had a rest.

    He's not a bad bowler, he gives the ball a rip and has a nice loop in the flight. He doesn't have the variations and subtlety of Swann, but that's a matter of experience. Aus should persevere with him (and it might help if they produced one or two wickets with some turn) while Agar learns how to bowl at first-class level.

  • pat_one_back on August 10, 2013, 1:35 GMT

    FFL, you'd be a great guy to follow around a betting tent just to bet against, your vindictive targeting of Lyon has yet again been proven ridiculous. Be a Swan fanboy all you like, he's a great bowler but time you opened your eyes before you open your browser and spouting ignorance.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on August 9, 2013, 11:24 GMT

    Lyon was out-bowled by Swann before the series even began. Not only did Swann get consistently more Revs than him (as expected by all), to put the two in the same sentence is nothing short of sacrilege. Australia's long inability to find a decent spinner only continues apace.

  • pat_one_back on August 9, 2013, 9:51 GMT

    Lyon is invariably above 2k on the new gadget and I had to rewind and replay to believe it when he was captured at over 2800, the dial only goes to 3k, freakish. Easily a few hundred more than I'd seen from anyone, Root, Agar, Clarke, yea Swann, surprisingly even more than Smith's lucky dip wristies, they hit 2400's at grip, the odd time they bounced. Funny Warnie hasn't clocked any, shoulder, no more likely ego too tender, must mean he's in training for a channel 9 cricket show, even now his ego wouldn't abide less than a top score on the 'spin gun'. 5 mins more to wait, Enjoy the test fans!

  • dunger.bob on August 9, 2013, 8:59 GMT

    @ Yogi108: I'd like to see Lyon vary his pace a bit more to. I've been watching Swann closely and he does it all the time. .. You'll get a couple of stock balls then a quicker, more stump to stump, or way outside off, quicker ball. .. More stock balls, then a loopier, above the eye-line slower ball... Stock, stock, quick. .. series of stocks, slower. etc, etc. .It's beautiful bowling. .. Swann has grown on me as a character but especially as a bowler lately. .. To be truthful, I hadn't seen that much of him live before this series... Anyway, Nath could learn a lot from him and I reckon he might just about be smart enough to do just that. I'm gunna back him to someday be just as good an exponent of pace as Swann is now.

  • venkatesh018 on August 9, 2013, 6:16 GMT

    This is really a manufactured debate where there is none. Lyon is the best Aussie spinner by a country mile. Don't destroy the man's confidence by keeping him permanently insecure of his place.

  • kramdrol on August 9, 2013, 4:17 GMT

    Clarke should take note of how batsman are playing a bowler. For Clarke to say Lyon is bowling beautifully at the moment, is astonishing, and belies the facts. I have rarely seen a test bowler played with such ease. As an Aussie, it was embarrassing to watch.

  • MUDKRAB on August 9, 2013, 3:51 GMT

    @CapitalMarkets - "Lyon spins the ball at about 1600 rpm whereas Swann spins it at 2400 rpm". That statement is utterly wrong. The rev counter in the Old Trafford test showed Lyon regularly getting his revs up in the red zone, just like Swann. The difference is - as the author of this article states - Swann's experience, confidence and nous, as well as the fact he is bowling to a lineup full of lead-footed lefties.

    Lyon actually bowled pretty well and was unfortunate, like many spinners before him, to fall foul of a KP assault. Furthermore the weather intervened to take away the opportunity to bowl on a fifth day pitch, at an England lineup that was looking the shakiest it had all series.

    Lyon is only 25, has potential and needs to be shown more faith. Dropping him after taking 9 wickets against some of the best players of spin in the world is not showing faith. Let him gain some more experience and confidence, some more variations and we'll see a good spinner emerge, mark my words!

  • Roodog on August 9, 2013, 4:18 GMT

    Capital Markets. I don't know what game you have been watching but Lyon spins the ball almost as much as Swann. He is generally in the 2200-2300 rpm range unless he bowls in faster. Swann can really get it up there but generally sits around that range too.

    Lyon just doesn't seem to pitch the ball up enough and seems to have pretty bad luck. He is better than Agar or Smith at the moment in that he is good enough for test cricket. I just don't think he has enough tricks and probably lacks the total confidence of the team.

    He needs to really take a game on and get some wickets then he'll be a lot more confident.

  • Mitty2 on August 9, 2013, 3:31 GMT

    Also disagree with the sentiment on Lyon's reaction to being hit by KP. He still kept flighting it up, and those who have watched Australian cricket closely over the last two years would've noticed that when he starts getting hit around (apart from against Dhoni) he almost always bounces back. The problem is is that for all of clarke's attacking mature as captain, he too doesn't give enough trust in the spinners. He's under bowled smith and he takes Lyon out of the attack way too quickly. It was just disgraceful on the third day in the morning session that Lyon only got two overs when he didnt concede any runs and no one was threatening to take wickets. It was just mind boggling because Lyon was still turning it appreciably.

  • landl47 on August 8, 2013, 22:00 GMT

    The wicket at OT didn't favour spinners; only the odd ball turned, usually from well outside the wicket, and it got slower and lower as the match went on. Swann bowled exceptionally well throughout and got 6 wickets at 38 apiece against a side that doesn't play spin well. In the second innings he hardly got any turn apart from the occasional ball. I don't think Lyon would have bothered the England batsmen at all; his job would have been to use up time while Siddle and Harris had a rest.

    He's not a bad bowler, he gives the ball a rip and has a nice loop in the flight. He doesn't have the variations and subtlety of Swann, but that's a matter of experience. Aus should persevere with him (and it might help if they produced one or two wickets with some turn) while Agar learns how to bowl at first-class level.

  • pat_one_back on August 10, 2013, 1:35 GMT

    FFL, you'd be a great guy to follow around a betting tent just to bet against, your vindictive targeting of Lyon has yet again been proven ridiculous. Be a Swan fanboy all you like, he's a great bowler but time you opened your eyes before you open your browser and spouting ignorance.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on August 9, 2013, 11:24 GMT

    Lyon was out-bowled by Swann before the series even began. Not only did Swann get consistently more Revs than him (as expected by all), to put the two in the same sentence is nothing short of sacrilege. Australia's long inability to find a decent spinner only continues apace.

  • pat_one_back on August 9, 2013, 9:51 GMT

    Lyon is invariably above 2k on the new gadget and I had to rewind and replay to believe it when he was captured at over 2800, the dial only goes to 3k, freakish. Easily a few hundred more than I'd seen from anyone, Root, Agar, Clarke, yea Swann, surprisingly even more than Smith's lucky dip wristies, they hit 2400's at grip, the odd time they bounced. Funny Warnie hasn't clocked any, shoulder, no more likely ego too tender, must mean he's in training for a channel 9 cricket show, even now his ego wouldn't abide less than a top score on the 'spin gun'. 5 mins more to wait, Enjoy the test fans!

  • dunger.bob on August 9, 2013, 8:59 GMT

    @ Yogi108: I'd like to see Lyon vary his pace a bit more to. I've been watching Swann closely and he does it all the time. .. You'll get a couple of stock balls then a quicker, more stump to stump, or way outside off, quicker ball. .. More stock balls, then a loopier, above the eye-line slower ball... Stock, stock, quick. .. series of stocks, slower. etc, etc. .It's beautiful bowling. .. Swann has grown on me as a character but especially as a bowler lately. .. To be truthful, I hadn't seen that much of him live before this series... Anyway, Nath could learn a lot from him and I reckon he might just about be smart enough to do just that. I'm gunna back him to someday be just as good an exponent of pace as Swann is now.

  • venkatesh018 on August 9, 2013, 6:16 GMT

    This is really a manufactured debate where there is none. Lyon is the best Aussie spinner by a country mile. Don't destroy the man's confidence by keeping him permanently insecure of his place.

  • kramdrol on August 9, 2013, 4:17 GMT

    Clarke should take note of how batsman are playing a bowler. For Clarke to say Lyon is bowling beautifully at the moment, is astonishing, and belies the facts. I have rarely seen a test bowler played with such ease. As an Aussie, it was embarrassing to watch.

  • MUDKRAB on August 9, 2013, 3:51 GMT

    @CapitalMarkets - "Lyon spins the ball at about 1600 rpm whereas Swann spins it at 2400 rpm". That statement is utterly wrong. The rev counter in the Old Trafford test showed Lyon regularly getting his revs up in the red zone, just like Swann. The difference is - as the author of this article states - Swann's experience, confidence and nous, as well as the fact he is bowling to a lineup full of lead-footed lefties.

    Lyon actually bowled pretty well and was unfortunate, like many spinners before him, to fall foul of a KP assault. Furthermore the weather intervened to take away the opportunity to bowl on a fifth day pitch, at an England lineup that was looking the shakiest it had all series.

    Lyon is only 25, has potential and needs to be shown more faith. Dropping him after taking 9 wickets against some of the best players of spin in the world is not showing faith. Let him gain some more experience and confidence, some more variations and we'll see a good spinner emerge, mark my words!

  • Moppa on August 9, 2013, 3:44 GMT

    Geez, it's funny how people make stuff up just to bag Lyon. @CapitalMarkets, I didn't catch the whole Old Trafford Test, but I didn't see Lyon bowl a single ball at 1600 rpm. His first spell on the second evening went straight into the "red zone" (>2300 rpm) and he was consistently around 2200 when I saw him bowl briefly on the third day. People have bagged Lyon for not turning the ball, whereas I've always felt he puts a lot of work on it, but with more overspin and less side-spin. This leads to loop but not much turn. I didn't catch much of the Indian tour, but he looked to me like he was bowling differently at Old Trafford than I'd seen him bowl before, with a more side on action, more of an angle on the seam, and more side-spin (at the expense of overspin). Lyon has been attacked before and seems mentally tough enough to come through it, he just needs to mix up his pace and flight a bit to make it harder for guys like KP or Dhoni to attack him.

  • Mitty2 on August 9, 2013, 3:25 GMT

    Well that's just utter crap @capitalmarkets. "Lyon spins the ball at about 1600 rpm whereas swann spins it at 2400 rpm"... I'm not sure if you actually watched the game, because if you did, you would've noticed that Lyon was in the 'red' zone frequently. Even when KP and Bell were hitting him down the ground (in which they'd do the sane to swann) Lyon was bowling everything in the red zone. You can argue about Swann's superiority all you want, but the fact doesn't change that Lyon was getting the same amount of revs as him.

    Lyon was very unlucky on day 2, and his action has changed significantly for the better - he's more side on, but he just needs to bowl closer to the stumps so he can get that drift - he was getting considerable bounce, and Cook was all at sea facing him. His confidence has yet again been dented by this terrible selection panel and it's tough when you're getting no vote of confidence, but he is our best spinner and is still young - has to be persisted with.

  • Big_Maxy_Walker on August 9, 2013, 3:17 GMT

    I agree Smith should have bowled more. Now with Warner back he too can bring his similar leg spin. Play four pace bowlers, with Clarke, Smith and Warner providing the spin

  • YogifromNY on August 9, 2013, 3:07 GMT

    One quote from Clarke caught my eye in this article - "I think he's bowling at a good pace." I don't know if that means he is bowling fastish spinners or bowling at the right pace, but one thing modern spinners don't do very well is to toss the ball up AND slow it down. Most spinners bowl too fast these days. Slowing it down and looping it up adds mystery and spite to a spinner's bowling. Has someone suggested he should slow his deliveries down, at least once in a while?

  • RotoStreetDairyGang on August 9, 2013, 3:04 GMT

    2MikeGattings - " England bullied Lyon" - tell that to Captain Cook, he missed that directive. The poor bugger looked bewildered against Lyon. Lyon was unlucky not to get his scalp. The only bully was wah wah Pietersen with his scratchy 113.

  • Chris_P on August 9, 2013, 2:32 GMT

    @Jono Makim . I like Smith's versatility but really he is best used as a shock option, he really does bowl some snorters, but mixes it up with some real fruit. That spell to Tendulkar when he finally got him still sits fresh in my mind. I like the way he is applying himself as a batsman, this is where he future is with His part time leggies called on when best to utilize it. Lyons, IMHO, was pretty close to nailing it, he did bowl some good overs, & is worth staying with the rest of the series.

  • Slobberdog on August 9, 2013, 2:26 GMT

    Unless it's a raging turner, Australia should play to its strength: 4 quicks. Bring in Bird. None of Australia's spinners are international class and I think we're seeing a true indication of Lyon's present ability as his bowling average creeps towards 40. He was protected early on in his test career, with most of his wickets coming from the tail. His average in his last 10 tests is 41.60. He's also conceded runs at 3.3/over during this period. If he was a fast bowler with those figures, he would've been axed by now.

  • dunger.bob on August 9, 2013, 2:13 GMT

    It's hard to see Lyon ever being totally confident against top notch batsmen.. He's just that sort of bloke. .. He's quiet, introspective, never seems to have an opinion about anything .. much like myself really. .. When batters attacked Warne, he used to lick his lips and say 'you beauty, they're having a swing, now I've got em"... When batters attack Lyon, he licks his lips and says" gee whizz, my mouth is getting dry". ... Maybe one day Nathan will discover some confidence, but not today folks.

    @CapitalMarkets: Are you sure you're not getting Lyon and Agar mixed up there. Agar seemed to be always in that 1800-2000 bandwidth but Lyon is most often around 2100-2300. Lyon is always (well, not counting his arm ball which is not actually supposed to spin) in the orange - red. Agar is the yellow-orange man.

  • on August 9, 2013, 1:15 GMT

    @capitalmarkets, I think you were watching a different game. Both Lyon and Swann were averaging about 2300rpm when the bowled. So you can't say Swann is a more attacking spinner. Joe root was bowling with about 1600rpm.

  • Vishnu27 on August 9, 2013, 0:14 GMT

    @2MikeGattings: I think you are stretching reality no end with your parochial English response. Lyon "bullied, beat him out of the attack"? Really, when was that? I must've missed it. Sure Lyon was targeted, nothing unusual in that: it's a spinners lot in international cricket. However, Lyon held his own & responded well. His match figures of 38-12-103-1-econ 2.71 are decent. He was without doubt unlucky several times & could've easily had more wickets. He tied up an end & bowled economically. I think you're telling yourself "what's left of his confidence" has been dented & I'm absolutely certain he will have no qualms whatsoever about bowling to Pietersen again

  • GiantScrub on August 8, 2013, 23:11 GMT

    CapitalMarkets: Lyon was getting 2400 rpm in his first spell at OT. He only went back to 1600 rpm darts after KP and Bell hit him out of the park three times in two overs and he got taken out of the attack. His technique is fine, what he needs is to bowl with more intelligence and to not go back into that shell we saw at OT. It reminded me a lot of the Adelaide test last year, when he started to panic and stopped trying to beat du Plessis in flight.

  • theoriginalboof on August 8, 2013, 21:43 GMT

    @CapitalMartkets you of all people should be able to read numbers off a screen. Lyon was consistently over 2200 and sometimes around 2350. Very similar profile to Swann.

  • on August 8, 2013, 21:04 GMT

    A slow pitch won't do him any favours. Smith has been badly underbowled so far.

    If we do get a slow pitch I sure hope Aus win the toss and can set a steady pace for themselves, otherwise I fear Englands nurdlers will bat long and then we'll crumble under scoreboard pressure.

  • itismenithin on August 8, 2013, 20:07 GMT

    I think Lyon has to improve his body language and need to show he is in control of the situation while bowling, he hasn't looked confident especially when the batsmen tend to attack him. He might want to take a leaf out of Warne's or Swan's book.

  • CapitalMarkets on August 8, 2013, 19:13 GMT

    Fast bowlers hunt in packs but spinners rarely get that opportunity. Lyon spins the ball at about 1600 rpm whereas Swann spins it at 2400 rpm and that means that Swann is more effective as an attacking spinner, and Lyon is never going to take more wickets than Swann until he retires. It does mean that Swann puts more stress on his elbow. Lyon has an advantage in that less is expected of him than Swann but also has a disadvantage in that Warne is a very tough act to follow and that Clarke (back permitting) and Smith are both decent part time spinners, if the role is to fill in for the seamers. I can't see the selectors making Lyon a regular feature of Australian side because the pitches in England are too slow for a bowler of Lyon's type and the seamers take so many wickets anyway. Siddle is in the top half dozen seamers on the planet and Harris would be vying for the top spot with Steyn if he could play more than 14 test matches in four years. Smith plus Watson mean no place for Lyon.

  • 2MikeGattings on August 8, 2013, 17:32 GMT

    The rain at Old Trafford saved Lyon's face, really. He didn't look like getting wickets even on a pitch that was supposedly doctored to turn square for Swann. England bullied Lyon, beat him out of the attack, and dented what's left of his confidence. He won't fancy bowling to KP at Chester Le Street.

  • 2MikeGattings on August 8, 2013, 17:32 GMT

    The rain at Old Trafford saved Lyon's face, really. He didn't look like getting wickets even on a pitch that was supposedly doctored to turn square for Swann. England bullied Lyon, beat him out of the attack, and dented what's left of his confidence. He won't fancy bowling to KP at Chester Le Street.

  • CapitalMarkets on August 8, 2013, 19:13 GMT

    Fast bowlers hunt in packs but spinners rarely get that opportunity. Lyon spins the ball at about 1600 rpm whereas Swann spins it at 2400 rpm and that means that Swann is more effective as an attacking spinner, and Lyon is never going to take more wickets than Swann until he retires. It does mean that Swann puts more stress on his elbow. Lyon has an advantage in that less is expected of him than Swann but also has a disadvantage in that Warne is a very tough act to follow and that Clarke (back permitting) and Smith are both decent part time spinners, if the role is to fill in for the seamers. I can't see the selectors making Lyon a regular feature of Australian side because the pitches in England are too slow for a bowler of Lyon's type and the seamers take so many wickets anyway. Siddle is in the top half dozen seamers on the planet and Harris would be vying for the top spot with Steyn if he could play more than 14 test matches in four years. Smith plus Watson mean no place for Lyon.

  • itismenithin on August 8, 2013, 20:07 GMT

    I think Lyon has to improve his body language and need to show he is in control of the situation while bowling, he hasn't looked confident especially when the batsmen tend to attack him. He might want to take a leaf out of Warne's or Swan's book.

  • on August 8, 2013, 21:04 GMT

    A slow pitch won't do him any favours. Smith has been badly underbowled so far.

    If we do get a slow pitch I sure hope Aus win the toss and can set a steady pace for themselves, otherwise I fear Englands nurdlers will bat long and then we'll crumble under scoreboard pressure.

  • theoriginalboof on August 8, 2013, 21:43 GMT

    @CapitalMartkets you of all people should be able to read numbers off a screen. Lyon was consistently over 2200 and sometimes around 2350. Very similar profile to Swann.

  • GiantScrub on August 8, 2013, 23:11 GMT

    CapitalMarkets: Lyon was getting 2400 rpm in his first spell at OT. He only went back to 1600 rpm darts after KP and Bell hit him out of the park three times in two overs and he got taken out of the attack. His technique is fine, what he needs is to bowl with more intelligence and to not go back into that shell we saw at OT. It reminded me a lot of the Adelaide test last year, when he started to panic and stopped trying to beat du Plessis in flight.

  • Vishnu27 on August 9, 2013, 0:14 GMT

    @2MikeGattings: I think you are stretching reality no end with your parochial English response. Lyon "bullied, beat him out of the attack"? Really, when was that? I must've missed it. Sure Lyon was targeted, nothing unusual in that: it's a spinners lot in international cricket. However, Lyon held his own & responded well. His match figures of 38-12-103-1-econ 2.71 are decent. He was without doubt unlucky several times & could've easily had more wickets. He tied up an end & bowled economically. I think you're telling yourself "what's left of his confidence" has been dented & I'm absolutely certain he will have no qualms whatsoever about bowling to Pietersen again

  • on August 9, 2013, 1:15 GMT

    @capitalmarkets, I think you were watching a different game. Both Lyon and Swann were averaging about 2300rpm when the bowled. So you can't say Swann is a more attacking spinner. Joe root was bowling with about 1600rpm.

  • dunger.bob on August 9, 2013, 2:13 GMT

    It's hard to see Lyon ever being totally confident against top notch batsmen.. He's just that sort of bloke. .. He's quiet, introspective, never seems to have an opinion about anything .. much like myself really. .. When batters attacked Warne, he used to lick his lips and say 'you beauty, they're having a swing, now I've got em"... When batters attack Lyon, he licks his lips and says" gee whizz, my mouth is getting dry". ... Maybe one day Nathan will discover some confidence, but not today folks.

    @CapitalMarkets: Are you sure you're not getting Lyon and Agar mixed up there. Agar seemed to be always in that 1800-2000 bandwidth but Lyon is most often around 2100-2300. Lyon is always (well, not counting his arm ball which is not actually supposed to spin) in the orange - red. Agar is the yellow-orange man.

  • Slobberdog on August 9, 2013, 2:26 GMT

    Unless it's a raging turner, Australia should play to its strength: 4 quicks. Bring in Bird. None of Australia's spinners are international class and I think we're seeing a true indication of Lyon's present ability as his bowling average creeps towards 40. He was protected early on in his test career, with most of his wickets coming from the tail. His average in his last 10 tests is 41.60. He's also conceded runs at 3.3/over during this period. If he was a fast bowler with those figures, he would've been axed by now.