Lyon king leads Aussies to se­ries tri­umph

The Australian - - FRONT PAGE - PETER LALOR

In a gal­axy not that far away, Aus­tralian cricket was un­set­tled, un­seemly and in trou­ble.

On an Ade­laide Oval bathed in lights, the 11 play­ers who started the se­ries against Pak­istan com­pleted it with a se­cond straight Test win.

The vic­tory sees Aus­tralia com­fort­ably in se­cond place be­hind In­dia on the re­cently in­tro­duced Test Cham­pi­onship Ta­ble that will de­ter­mine who will play off for the ti­tle at Lord’s in Lon­don on June 21.

Two in­nings vic­to­ries over a weak­ened Pak­istan may not be the best in­di­ca­tor of the strength of the lo­cal side, but the signs are pos­i­tive. The 11 is set­tled for the first time in two years and it is hard to see how any changes will be made be­fore the three-Test se­ries against New Zealand start­ing in Perth on December 12.

Con­cerns about David Warner’s form af­ter a mis­er­able Ashes are a dis­tant mem­ory. The opener who av­er­aged nine in Eng­land has made 776 and been dis­missed twice this sum­mer. His record-break­ing 335 not out in this match was con­fir­ma­tion he is back to his de­struc­tive best.

Warner was named man of the match and the se­ries af­ter Aus­tralia won by an in­nings and 48 runs on the fourth day.

It has been a rough few years for the bats­man, who was sus­pended for 12 months for his role in the South African ball-tam­per­ing scan­dal.

“Ob­vi­ously I had a bit of time out of the game to re­flect on a lot of things,” Warner said af­ter the vic­tory on Mon­day night, “and one thing for me was to get back on the horse and train as hard as I could to make sure that I keep push­ing for the next cou­ple of years. Now that I am back here —

I have al­ways en­joyed it (but) I am en­joy­ing it even more, and I am even hun­grier than ever.”

The se­lec­tors ro­tated five bowlers and an all­rounder through the five Tests against Eng­land but will be loathe to tin­ker with the trio of seam­ers who helped bowl out Pak­istan in both matches of this se­ries. Pat Cum­mins has 51 wick­ets for the cal­en­dar year, well ahead of the se­cond-best bowler in the world, Stu­art Broad, with 48. He, Mitchell Starc and Josh Ha­zle­wood would have to be the best seam at­tack in the world.

Nathan Lyon had been a lit­tle off for a few Tests but bounced back yes­ter­day when the pink ball went soft and made the most of the day time con­di­tions.

Lyon’s 5-69 was his first fivewicket haul since the first match of the Ashes.

Cap­tain Tim Paine lauded the “pro­fes­sional” ef­fort of his side, which com­pleted just its se­cond se­ries win since he took over as cap­tain in March 2018. He said, how­ever, that some of the field­ing on the third day could have been bet­ter and that it had hurt Lyon.

The 31-year-old had two catches spilled and a stump­ing missed in the se­cond in­nings.

“Our bowlers were clin­i­cal in both Test matches to cre­ate the chances they did,” he said.

A five-wicket haul for Nathan Lyon put a tick in one of the last un­marked boxes for Aus­tralian cricket as the home side showed just how dom­i­nant they can be.

Yes­ter­day’s Ade­laide Ad­ver­tiser, as loyal to the Test match as the lo­cals, printed a dou­ble-sided poster cel­e­brat­ing the hero of the Ade­laide Oval Test, David Warner. On one side an im­age of the crick­eter cel­e­brat­ing one of the three hun­dreds of his in­nings on the other a sepia-toned recre­ation of the Evening News poster printed when Brad­man made his 334 at Head­in­g­ley: “WARNER BATS AND BATS AND BATS”.

The re­sus­ci­ta­tion of Warner’s Test ca­reer af­ter a near-death ex­pe­ri­ence in the Ashes is com­plete. He was named both man of the match af­ter this dom­i­nant in­nings and 48-run win at Ade­laide Oval and man of the se­ries.

Lazarus has not only arisen from the dead, he’s break­ing records at the Jerusalem games. The res­ur­rec­tion of the former vice-cap­tain’s rep­u­ta­tion awaits con­fir­ma­tion.

“I am very happy we didn’t have to bat again,” he said. “The legs are OK. You know we prac­tised for that. I was very tired last night.

“I ac­tu­ally fell asleep on the couch. That hap­pens, but all-in-all it was a great team per­for­mance and ob­vi­ously win­ning by an in­nings two games in a row doesn’t re­ally hap­pen too of­ten and an ex­cep­tional ef­fort by the boys.”

Warner is look­ing for­ward to the New Zealand se­ries, which starts with a day-night Test at Perth Sta­dium on Thurs­day week. “We know ev­ery time they come across here it is al­ways a good con­test and a good bat­tle,” he said.

The se­lec­tion panel is set to an­nounce a squad for the three-Test se­ries against New Zealand some time on Tues­day. It is hard to re­mem­ber a time this side of the early 2000s when places were so cer­tain. The XI that played in Bris­bane and Ade­laide will be the XI that plays in Perth on December 12 if they re­main fit.

Aus­tralian cricket set out to achieve a few things be­fore this se­ries but the results, like Warner’s 335no, have ex­ceeded ex­pec­ta­tion.

Win­ning against Pak­istan was never a given, but los­ing could not have been con­tem­plated.

Warner is back and al­most un­bear­ably chirpy af­ter in­nings of 154 and 335no. The pair­ing of he and Joe Burns was so suc­cess­ful in Bris­bane that Justin Langer sug­gested Mar­nus Labuschagn­e may like to drop down the or­der.

Labuschagn­e dis­missed the idea out of hand. He’d been wait­ing for a long time to bring the form he found in Eng­land in May and wasn’t go­ing to wait a minute longer. He then peeled off 185 to snare the man of the match award and con­tin­ued in that vein in Ade­laide with 162 scored as part of a 361 part­ner­ship with Warner.

Burns was dis­missed cheaply in the City of Churches, but such things hap­pen to open­ers. He is not go­ing any­where just yet. He is es­pe­cially not go­ing any­where when the only gen­uine threat to him, Cameron Ban­croft, keeps com­ing up short.

Ban­croft, who is part of the 14man squad, has been caught in some vari­a­tion of a leg trap in five out of six in­nings. Early in the se­quence Langer sym­pa­thised with his bad luck, but by now the con­clu­sion can only be that it is bad bat­ting.

Will Pu­cov­ski, who would have been in the squad in­stead of Ban­croft had he not left the Aus­tralia A game for men­tal health rea­sons, could pos­si­bly be in­cluded for the se­cond half of the Test sum­mer.

The highly fan­cied young bats­man made 82 on re­turn for Vic­to­ria in the game that fin­ished in a draw on Mon­day and has the chance to play in next week’s game against WA at the MCG.

The lead­ing wicket-taker in cricket this year, Pat Cum­mins, and his buddy from Ben­dameer, Josh Ha­zle­wood aren’t go­ing any­where and any ques­tions about Mitchell Starc have been an­swered.

Lyon was late to the party and suf­fered from a dif­fi­cult back half of the Ashes due to a fin­ger in­jury, but he ar­rived yes­ter­day with crit­i­cal wick­ets and would have had a few more had Mar­nus Labuschagn­e and Tim Paine not let him down.

The pink ball, so lethal at night and so tame dur­ing the day, al­lowed Pak­istan to ben­e­fit for the se­cond day run­ning on Mon­day. Shan Ma­sood and Asad Shafiq both scored half cen­turies against a ball that was soft and un­re­spon­sive.

AAP

Spin­ner Nathan Lyon ap­peals for the wicket of Yasir Shah on his way to a five-wicket haul in the se­cond Test against Pak­istan in Ade­laide

AFP

Matthew Wade hangs on to a fin­ger-tip catch

GETTY IMAGES

Aus­tralian Nathan Lyon is con­grat­u­lated by his team­mates af­ter tak­ing a wicket on day four of the se­cond Test against Pak­istan at Ade­laide Oval yes­ter­day

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