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‘Wounded’ Lyon ready to snare pitch preys

It’s not that the 33-year-old off-spinner has been wayward, but India have so far tackled him well
Nathan Lyon

Sayak Banerjee   |     |   Published 05.01.21, 05:41 AM

Just four wickets from 51 overs at an average of 36.25 do suggest that the going has been a tad difficult for Nathan Lyon so far in this Test series.

It’s not that the 33-year-old off-spinner has been wayward, but India have so far tackled him well, even in the opening Test in Adelaide which Australia had won comfortably.

Credit should go to Ajinkya Rahane, who has been the standout figure behind India’s comeback after the Adelaide debacle. Rahane played Lyon exceptionally well, especially at the MCG, where he hit a match-winning 112.

Lyon, who has 394 wickets from 98 Tests, said on Monday that what sets Rahane apart is his “patience and not buying into sledging” when batting.

“I think it’s the patience that Rahane shows at the crease which is his biggest asset. He doesn’t buy into any kind of sledging or any conversation out there in the middle. He’s a pretty calm and collected batsman,” Lyon said at a virtual conference on Monday before leaving for Sydney.

“He has stood up being the leader of India as Virat (Kohli) is not here,” he added.

But, Lyon, smarting from the wounds inflicted by the Indian batsmen, emphasised that he has plans in store to keep Rahane at bay in the penultimate Test at the SCG beginning on Thursday.

“We’ll have our plans ready to combat him come the SCG Test. He played me extremely well in Melbourne, so I’ve already come up with a couple of different plans for him and a few other guys, and I’m looking forward to putting them in place,” Lyon said.

With Rohit Sharma set to be back in the side for the third Test, which will be broadcast on Sony Six and Sony Ten channels, the Indian team management should be feeling at ease as the workload of Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara also gets reduced to an extent.

For Australia, it will also be quite a challenge against Rohit even if he last played a competitive game almost two months ago.

“Obviously, Rohit’s one of the best players in the world going around, so it’s going to be a big challenge for us bowlers. But we love challenging ourselves,” Lyon asserted.

“Rohit is a big input for the Indian side, so it will be interesting to see who they leave out. But we’ll have our plans ready for Rohit. Hopefully, we can get on top of him nice and early,” the spinner said.

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