The Indian offie – who seems to have learned from his previous trips Down Under – has notably had the wood on Australia’s best batsman, Steve Smith, and provided his team the kind of control on the scoring rate that captains desire.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, Lyon was full of praise for Ashwin, reflecting on the admiration that one masterful exponent of his craft shares for another. “I have said it right through my whole career that he is a world-class spinner. “What he has done well here is that he has bowled quite a straight line to our batters and our batsmen haven’t come up with a plan to counter him as yet. I am confident they will look to counter him in Sydney. He has got a decent record all over the world. “I expected him to do well,” Lyon, who prefers a wider line to the right-handers in comparison to Ashwin, said during a press conference.
Lyon has bowled well so far, but it’s just that a spinner’s contribution is often gauged by how he stacks up against his counterpart.
Going into the third Test in Sydney, where the 22 yards has traditionally favoured spin, Lyon is hoping to have a bigger impact. With two momentous milestones in his sight, there is also added in centive even though Lyon insists that it is all about winning the series.
The 33-year-old is six wickets away from 400 Test wickets, the magnitude of which sinks in with the realisation that only two other Australians – Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath – have achieved the feat. In addition, the fourth Test of the series will be his 100th Test.
“It is more about winning the series. If I can play my role against an amazing Indian team, I will be pleased. These milestones will be nice to look at when I end my career,” he observed.
As the designated singer of the Australian victory song in the dressing room whenever they win, Lyon added: “If I can sing the victory song in the next two Tests, the milestones will just top it off.”
For Lyon to play his part in the next two Tests, he concedes he will have to come up with different plans for the Indian batsmen.
Stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane, who did not put a foot wrong at MCG, countered Lyon brilliantly during his century by either taking a big stride forward for the fuller deliveries or going fully back to take advantage of the shorter ones. The ball is now in Lyon’s court.
“Rahane played me extremely well in Melbourne. I have come up with different plans for Rahane already and a few other batsmen. I am looking forward to putting them in place. As a bowling group, we were challenged in Melbourne but we are very confident as a bowling unit of taking 20 wickets in Sydney,” Lyon said.
With the 400-wicket mark on the horizon, Lyon will hope that at least six of those 20 wickets in Sydney fall to him.