Lyon’s eight-for floors India in 2nd Test
BANGALORE, India : Off-spinner Nathan Lyon Saturday said he studied India’s Ravichandran Ashwin to excel in Indian conditions after his career-best haul of eight wickets helped Australia take opening day honours in the second Test in Bangalore.
Lyon, whose figures of 8-50 became the best by a visiting bowler on Indian soil, wreaked havoc in the final session of play as India were bowled out for a paltry 189.
Australia were 40 for no loss at stumps with openers David Warner (23) and Matt Renshaw (15) at the crease. The visitors trail India by 149 runs in the first innings.
Lyon, who got the key wickets of India’s Virat Kohli (12) and top run-getter Lokesh Rahul (90), eclipsed former South African pacer Lance Klusener’s show of 8-64 at Kolkata in 1996.
“Obviously I have studied a lot of what (Indian off-spinner) Ashwin does very well over here. He is the best spinner of the world and if I can learn off him then so good,” Lyon told reporters.
“It’s finally very satisfying to get some rewards for the hard work that you put in,” said Lyon, also giving credit to former Victoria wicketkeeper Darren Berry and Australia spin consultant John Davison, with whom he has worked at different phases during his career.
This was the third successive time in the four-match series that the world’s number one Test side failed as a batting unit after they scored 105 and 107 during their opening loss.
But the pitch in Bangalore, which has an average first innings score of 451 in the last seven Tests, seemed to have no demons like the turning track in Pune that was rated poor by the match referee.
Lyon struck shortly after lunch to get Kohli trapped lbw for 12, as the batsman once again offered no shot to an Australian spinner. He was bowled by left-arm spinner Steve O’Keefe in the first Test.
“Interesting wicket. It’s what we expected over here. We knew we weren’t going to have much grass on the wicket,” said Lyon, who bettered his previous best of 7-94 at Delhi in 2013.
“I didn’t expect so many cracks on day one but they’re there. I’ll reassess the wicket after both teams bat on it,” he added.
– Kohli’s prized scalp –
Kohli, who had a rare flop in Pune with scores of 0 and 13, faltered again after choosing to pad up Lyon’s off-spin that headed straight onto the stumps and was adjudged lbw.
Kohli, who was bowled by left-arm spinner Steve O’Keefe in the second innings of the first Test, wasted a review as the replays agreed with the umpires call and the star batsman walked back with pin drop silence at the ground.
“He is one of the best players of the world. To take his wicket today was exceptional but we know it’s a long series. We expect him to bounce back,” said Lyon.
Earlier pacemen Mitchell Starc, who got opener Abhinav Mukund for nought, and Josh Hazlewood bowled probing spells to rattle the Indian batting early in the first session.
Rahul, who has survived two dropped catches on 30 and 61 at his home venue, did grind his way against the Aussie attack but got little support from the other end.
Rahul, who recorded his third Test fifty in his 15th match, finally got out to Lyon. The batsman injured his shoulder during an ugly slog against Steve O’Keefe in the latter part of his innings.
Rahul’s 61-run second wicket stand with Cheteshwar Pujara (17) seemed to be the only bit of resistance in the Indian batting. Karun Nair also contributed with 26.
“Like I said, the cracks are opening up and it’s only getting harder to bat on this wicket,” said Rahul of the Bangalore track.
Rahul also backed Ashwin, the world’s top Test bowler, to come back hard against the Australian batsmen on the second day.
“We know Ash (Ashwin) is a top class bowler and once he gets a couple of wickets and gets into that rhythm then he is going to run through the Australian batting line-up, which we are very confident of,” he said.