Lyon’s heart sets Australia on course for second Test win

Australia are pushing towards a 2-0 Ashes series lead after Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins’ brilliance left England at 4-114 in pursuit of 371 after day four at Lord’s, with injured Nathan Lyon entering Ashes folklore by hopping out of the pavilion and batting on one leg.

Jul 02, 2023, updated Jul 02, 2023
Australia's Nathan Lyon is patted on the back by England's Joe Root after batting while injured. Photo: Mike Egerton/PA Wire.

Australia's Nathan Lyon is patted on the back by England's Joe Root after batting while injured. Photo: Mike Egerton/PA Wire.

Australia finished needing six wickets to win the second Test and England 259 more runs.

Still struck down by a significant calf tear and with his tour now certainly over, Lyon hobbled out at No.11, hopped a single for Starc and hit a four himself.

His courageous 25 minutes at the crease with Mitchell Starc allowed them to add 15 runs for the last wicket.

A shattered Lyon will meet with medical staff on Sunday when it is likely the offspinner will be told his Ashes are over, but the extra runs he helped Australia score could still prove crucial in this Test.

“You never know how how big a 15-run partnership can be in an Ashes series. I’m proud of myself for going out there and doing that,” Lyon said.

“It was my call. I spoke to Ron (coach Andrew McDonald) and Patty (Cummins).

“Patty was probably a little bit hesitant but at the end of the day I’ll do anything for this team, and I’d do it again tomorrow.

“I love this team. I love playing cricket for Australia. And if I can keep playing my role and help out my teammates here and there. I’ll do that.”

Australia then emerged – sans Lyon – and had England 4-45 after 12.5 overs and with a win in their sights.

Starc struck first when he had Zak Crawley caught down legside in his second over on three, before sending down the ball of the series so far to bowl Ollie Pope.

Coming over the wicket, the left-armer started it outside Pope’s off stump and swung it back through the gate to bowl the right-hander on three.

Cummins then produced a devastating over to further sink the hosts.

InDaily in your inbox. The best local news every workday at lunch time.
By signing up, you agree to our User Agreement andPrivacy Policy & Cookie Statement. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

He first hit Joe Root on the bicep with a rising delivery, before the next ball steeped up in the same fashion to draw the England star’s edge and have him caught at slip on 18.

Harry Brook fell two balls later, bowled by a Cummins ball that angled in and took the right-hander’s off stump.

The story could have been worse for England, with Starc denied a catch in the deep to dismiss Ben Duckett just before stumps when it was deemed the ball touched the ground before the quick was in full control of his body.

Ben Stokes (29) and Duckett (50) then managed to get England through to the close, but the former will need to repeat his heroics of Headingley in 2019 to give the hosts any chance of victory.

Otherwise, England are staring down the barrel of a 2-0 Ashes deficit, a position only Don Bradman has been able to help a team out of before with two double-centuries and another big ton for Australia in 1936-37.

“Our confidence is extremely high and so it should be,” Lyon said.

For stages on Saturday, it looked as if England had clawed back into the game with short ball after short ball.Usman Khawaja and Steve Smith drove three boundaries in the first three overs, but Australia barely faced another ball that landed in their half after that.

All eight Australian wickets to fall on day four were with batters on the back foot, while 98 per cent of deliveries in the second session were classed as short.The tactic worked to slow down the scoring and eventually strangled Australia out, with Khawaja (77), Smith (34), Cameron Green (18) and Lyon all out pulling.

At that point, England would have believed they were in the contest after pulling off chases of 378, 299, 296 and 279 at home last summer.

But Starc (2-40) and Cummins (2-20) have since made that job significantly harder.


Local News Matters
Copyright © 2024 InDaily.
All rights reserved.