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India vs Australia: Lyon Roars in Indore, Preys on Indian Batting

By: Sahil Malhotra


Last Updated: March 02, 2023, 18:34 IST

Indore, India

Nathan Lyon spun his web on Day 2 to dismantle India batting line-up (AP Image)

Nathan Lyon spun his web on Day 2 to dismantle India batting line-up (AP Image)

Nathan Lyon (8/64) ran through India batting with a masterful show of spin-bowling on a track with a lot of purchase for the slower bowlers.

Credit the pitch as much you want but it was a lion-hearted show by Nathan Lyon in the second Indian innings of the third Test in Indore. He did all the dirty work in the first innings too, scalped three and allowed Matthew Kuhnemman to reap rewards from the other end for his maiden fifer. The second innings, however, saw Lyon in the leading role as he put on a masterclass.

Even if there’s assist off the surface, it’s important to bowl in the right areas over-after-over. It was evident in the first half of the morning session where both Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel failed to make any inroads as they bowled too full for the pitch’s liking. Lyon would have probably seen that and more importantly how R Ashwin pulled the length and India back into the game during that probing spell post drinks.

Lyon stuck to similar plans when he came out to bowl but the 31st over of the innings was a spectacle of quality off-spin bowling. The 35-year-old presented the perfect recipe for success on this track and showed how being a tad quicker in the afternoon session was ideal.

India vs Australia 3rd Test Day 2 Live Score

The magical over

He started with a couple of deliveries, both from the good length spot, to Pujara. Typical off-spinners turning into the right-hander with speeds in the early 90s. Moment Jadeja came on strike, he pushed the speed further up (96.6 kmph) and got one to drift into the left-hander from the good length spot. Clearly beaten by pace, Jadeja couldn’t get the bat down in time but the angle saved him from the loud LBW shout.

Nathan Lyon’s 31st over was an off-spinner’s delight. (Image: BCCI.TV)

Next ball, Lyon beat everyone as he bowled much slower (88.2 kmph), got big turn and went past Jadeja’s defence and made it difficult for Alex Carey to complete the grab. Jadeja was completely squared up on that occasion and the extra bounce did shake him up a bit. Still recovering from the previous two deliveries, Jadeja was done in by the drift, not the turn. Probably played the wrong line and ball hitting below the knee-roll meant three reds all the way. The wicket ball again was quicker (94.3 kmph) and the variety of angles Lyon created in that over was too much for a batter of even Jadeja’s quality.

Six of Lyon’s eight eventual wickets came from the good length spots and the delivery to get rid of Jadeja was a tad shorter than the other four wickets. He hardly went full and kept using the pitch and the angle with the right mix of spin and drift.

Also Read | IND vs AUS, 3rd Test: ‘It Was Mayhem’: Mark Waugh Slams Indore Pitch

Before the masterful over, Lyon removed openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill cheaply. While Gill threw his wicket away with a reckless shot, for Rohit it was like an action replay from the Delhi Test. Only difference being he was bowled there and it was an LBW here. On both occasions, it was error in judging the length which brought curtains down.

Lyon continued to operate upwards of 90 kmph and bowled one much quicker to go through KS Bharat’s defence in the 41st over of the Indian innings. Bharat was looking to defend one off the front foot but played for the turn which wasn’t there. That ball held its line and crashed into the top of off-stump. The offie had his fourth and later trapped Ashwin in front to complete his 23rd fifer in Tests.

The most special one would have been the sixth scalp as he got rid of a well-set Cheteshwar Pujara but credit for that wicket goes to Steve Smith and no one else. Drifted one down the pads, Pujara looked to clip it fine, which he did, but an alert Smith reacted in no time and plucked one out of thin air, diving low to his right. It was mere formalities from there on as he wasted very little time to get rid of the tail and put Australia in a match-winning position. As Vikram Rathour had mentioned in the post-day presser after Day 1, this innings was going to be very crucial for the hosts and they had to bat big.

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    Lyon, however, had other plans and reaped rewards for sticking to the length and then doing his magic from the same spot over and over again. On pitches like these, where anything is happening from anywhere, batters tend to focus more on the pitch activity and in the process start focussing less on the hand. That’s where the subtle changes in the grip, seam position and release points become all the more effective.

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    first published:March 02, 2023, 16:54 IST
    last updated:March 02, 2023, 18:34 IST