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Lyon formally ruled out of remainder of the Ashes

Todd Murphy likely for Headingley Test with no other spinner added; Matt Renshaw has been released from the squad but will remain in the UK as standby.

Alex Malcolm
Alex Malcolm
03-Jul-2023
Nathan Lyon has been ruled out of the remainder of the Ashes series due to his torn right calf and no replacement has been added to Australia's squad yet. That means fellow offspinner Todd Murphy is almost certain to replace him for the third Test against England at Headingley starting on Thursday, with Australia 2-0 up in the series.
Spare batter Matt Renshaw, who fielded for Lyon on the final day of the Lord's Test, has been released from the squad but will remain in the UK on standby, meaning Australia's squad has been reduced to 16 with seam bowler Michael Neser remaining with the group having been a late addition for the World Test Championship final and the first two Ashes Tests.
Lyon suffered what he described as a "decent tear" of his right calf on the second day of the Lord's Test while fielding.
He did not field or bowl again in the match but bravely batted on one leg to help Australia add 15 more runs to their second-innings total, which proved quite valuable to the end result.
Lyon met with Australia's medical staff on Sunday to confirm that his tour was over, as he had already suspected. It brought to an end his remarkable streak of 100 consecutive Tests. Lord's was his 100th Test in a row and his 122nd overall. He is just the sixth man in Test history to play 100 Tests in a row and the only bowler to do it.
Lyon has also never missed a Test through injury until now. The only other time he did not play for Australia since his Test debut in 2011 was when he was omitted for the first two Tests of the 2013 Ashes series.
Lyon's absence means that Murphy, 22, will almost certainly play in the remaining three Tests. The Victoria offspinner played all four Tests on Australia's tour of India earlier this year and took 14 wickets at 25.21, including 7 for 124 on debut in Nagpur.
But it will be the first time Murphy has played as the sole spinner in a Test as he played alongside Lyon in all four matches in India, and as part of a three-pronged spin attack in three of them when Matthew Kuhnemann was called into the side after the first Test loss in Nagpur.
It will also be just the third time in his first-class career that he will play as the lone spinner in a line-up. Murphy has only played 12 first-class games in his short career to date including his four Tests. In six of his eight appearances for Victoria, Australia A and the Prime Minister's XI, he has played alongside another specialist spinner.
Murphy won a lot of praise for his performances in India with India offspinner R Ashwin describing him as "10 to 50 times better" than Lyon was when he first came to India in 2013.
Kuhnemann remains in Australia, having had to leave his county stint with Durham earlier in the season after a back injury.
Queensland legspinner Mitchell Swepson, who played four Tests for Australia in Pakistan and Sri Lanka in 2022 and was on the tour of India, is in England playing for Glamorgan as an overseas replacement for Neser. He took seven wickets on his Glamorgan debut against Sussex and could be called into the squad if needed.
The release of Renshaw from the squad is a sign Australia's selectors are comfortable with the form and fitness of the batting group after the first two Tests. Renshaw will remain in the UK but any doubts about David Warner's place at the top of the order have been dismissed following his vital 66 on day one in tricky batting conditions at Lord's. Warner also made a valuable 76-ball 25 in the second, under floodlights against the swinging ball, and he and Usman Khawaja became the first Australian opening pair in five years to post half-century partnerships in both innings of a Test.
Marcus Harris and Mitchell Marsh remain as the spare batter and spare allrounder in the squad. Jimmy Peirson is also there as the backup wicketkeeper after Josh Inglis flew home for the birth of his first child following the first Test at Edgbaston. Inglis is still planning to return to the tour at some stage but there has been no timeline placed on it.
Australia squad for third men's Ashes Test: Pat Cummins (capt), Steven Smith (vice-capt), David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey (wk), Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Todd Murphy, Scott Boland, Michael Neser, Marcus Harris, Mitchell Marsh, Jimmy Peirson (wk)

Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo