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'Have to put my ego away and bowl ugly' - Lyon

Nathan Lyon's fine form in Asia continued with another five-for in Chittagong, also moving past Jason Gillespie to become the seventh-highest Australian wicket-taker in Tests

Brydon Coverdale
Brydon Coverdale
Nathan Lyon roars after trapping Tamim Iqbal lbw, Bangladesh v Australia, 2nd Test, Chittagong, 1st day, September 4, 2017

Nathan Lyon continued his fine form in Asia with another five-for  •  Getty Images

Last week, Nathan Lyon went past Richie Benaud. On the first day in Chittagong, he passed Jason Gillespie. Now, only six men stand above him on the all-time list of Australian Test wicket-takers: Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Dennis Lillee, Mitchell Johnson, Brett Lee and Craig McDermott. And another five-wicket haul for Lyon was further evidence that he has found a method that can lead to success in Asia.
In February, there was 8 for 50 against India in Bengaluru. Then there was 5 for 92 in Dharamsala. In Mirpur, there was 6 for 82 against Bangladesh. And now 5 for 77 and counting in the first innings in Chittagong. Lyon has come a long way from being dropped after his first Test in India back in 2013. In fact, on the first day in Chittagong, Lyon went past Richie Benaud and McGrath to become Australia's second-leading Test wicket-taker in Asia, behind only Warne.
"I think it's a lot to do with confidence," Lyon told reporters after the first day's play. "This is probably my sixth tour in the subcontinent area so I think leading an attack where I've played the most games, lead the wicket column with the bowling group, I've put enough pressure on myself to go out there and perform well.
"I've watched a lot of footage of Ashwin, who in my book is probably the No. 1 spinner in the world. So in these conditions it's all about adapting and learning and probably putting your ego aside, and what works for me in Australia probably doesn't really work here in the subcontinent. Saying that it's also my strength as well, so I can't go too far from that.
"I have to put my ego away and really bowl with confidence, in my terms 'bowl ugly'. That might be round-arm for me, trying to undercut the ball a little bit more but using my stock ball as a variation. I think I've learnt a lot in the subcontinent and I'm embracing the challenge."
Lyon was particularly pleased with his success on a pitch that did not provide the kind of turn that he might have expected from an Asian pitch - and particularly one on which Australia had chosen to field three frontline spinners. Not since the corresponding Test in Chittagong in 2006, when Dan Cullen debuted and bowled alongside Warne and Stuart MacGill, had Australia played three genuine spinners in the XI.
"I think the wicket's going to deteriorate, yeah for sure, but I think I might have spun one ball out of 28 overs today," Lyon said. "There's not much spin there at the moment so it's a good challenge for us spinners to challenge the batters and challenge their defence on a wicket like this. But subcontinent wickets around the world spin when the game goes on so I've got no doubt that this one will."
Still, despite Lyon's five-wicket haul, Australia still have plenty of work ahead of them after Bangladesh reached 253 for 6 at stumps having chosen to bat first. Sabbir Rahman made 66 and Mushfiqur Rahim was well set and unbeaten on 62 at the close of play, and if the pitch does deteriorate, first-innings runs will be all the more valuable.
"It's pretty even," Lyon said. "They played well. Sabbir and the skipper, they batted really well, they took the game on, they played some brave cricket. You've got to give credit where credit's due. They played some good shots. But at the end of the day I was pretty proud of our bowlers' efforts to go out there and keep fighting all the way through to the 90th over.
"As I said before, that was the hardest conditions I've ever had. The wicket's not really doing much, there's not much spin, there's no bounce. So to challenge the Bangladesh batters as much as we could, I thought it was a pretty good day to be honest."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale