Lyon stamps au­thor­ity on Eng­land as Ashes open

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - BEN HORNE

NATHAN Lyon wasted no time in prov­ing what an in­dis­pens­able role he now plays in Test cricket, claim­ing the prized scalp of Eng­land’s cap­tain and best bats­man Alastair Cook to send a clear mes­sage of his abil­i­ties on day one of the Ashes.

The Aus­tralian off- spin­ner must have thought it was Ground­hog Day when he turned up in Cardiff to hear talk that he might miss the first Test.

Lyon – with more wick­ets than any offie Aus­tralia has ever had – was un­der the pump.

Aus­tralia ul­ti­mately aban­doned any pos­si­bil­ity of launch­ing into Eng­land with an all- out pace at­tack, and Lyon re­sponded with a per- for­mance that sug­gested the the­ory should never have been con­tem­plated in the first place.

It’s now clear that Lyon is a man who should be backed in all con­di­tions and cir­cum­stances and the counter bal­ance he pro­vides in Aus­tralia’s high- volt­age at­tack is cru­cial.

Speed and power might be the foun­da­tion of how Aus- tralia plays its cricket, but it was the crafts­man­ship of Lyon that claimed the big wicket on the open­ing morn­ing of Aus­tralia’s bid to break 14 years of hell on English soil.

Eng­land were be­gin­ning to set­tle at 1- 41 hav­ing seen off the open­ing as­sault from the quicks, when Lyon was given his chance.

Then just two balls af­ter the drinks break, Aus­tralia’s great­est ever off- spin­ner snuck un­der the guard of Eng­land’s great­est ever run­scorer, and Brad Haddin did the rest with a sharp catch be­hind the stumps to send Cook on his way for 20.

By lunch the brakes were on for Eng­land at 3- 88.

Lyon sent an im­me­di­ate mes­sage that Eng­land can dis­re­spect him at their peril.

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