Nathan Lyon earned plaudits for his performance on Day 3 of the second Test between India and Australia in Perth. On a wicket that was generally perceived as one favouring pacers, Lyon took five wickets, in the nearly 35 overs he bowled during the Indian innings. In the process, he moved past South African great Allan Donald on the all-time Test wicket takers list with 331.
But Lyon reckons he is yet to reach his best. “It’s a bit surreal. Those milestones haven’t really sunk in,” Lyon told reporters after day’s play. “I don’t think I’m at the top of my game yet. I believe there is a lot more around the corner for me.”
The 31-year-old gave Australia an early breakthough in the form of Indian vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane in the very first over of Day 3. Rahane was on 51 and his 91-run partnership with skipper Virat Kohli had kept India alive on Day 2 but not a single run could be added to that total on Sunday. He then accounted for Rishabh Pant before wiping out the Indian tail. One of those who praised Lyon was Indian batting great Sachin Tendulkar. “He’s one of the greatest of all time to ever play the game and to get recognised from him is a massive honour,” Lyon said.
The series comes at a time when Australia are still recovering from the 2017 ball tampering scandal that led to the suspension of then Australian captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner. Lyon, a cult hero in Australia, and his team now have an opportunity to provide cheer for the nation
— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) 16 December 2018
“Playing Test cricket for Australia, we have an opportunity to become heroes,” he said. “That is something that sits very special to me that you can go out there and make a lot of people happy if you stand up.”
India’s pace attack has been praised and frequently rated as one of the world’s best during the run up to this series and the first Test but they have been troubled by the Australian batsmen in Perth. With Australia leading by 175 runs at the end of Day 3, Lyon said that he is confident of his team’s capability to defend any total that will eventually be set. “I would rather be in Australia’s change rooms than India’s,” he said. “We know we have the bowlers that can defend,” he said,