Australia's optimum off-spinner Nathan Lyon celebrates his 32nd birthday on Wednesday. Born on November 20, 1987, Lyon is unarguably the best offie coming from down-under and is also one of the best bowlers going around in red-ball cricket. Hailing from New South Wales, the veteran doesn't really require a particular sort of track to trouble the batsman as he has taken wickets all around the world. With the Australian bowling line-up consisting of speedsters like Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins who can set the speed gun on fire, the presence of Lyon is no less than a cherry on the cake. Hampshire sign Australian Spinner Nathan Lyon for County Championship 2020.
Many might not know that the Aussie star started his career as a groundsman at the Adelaide Oval. However, his bowling skills were too good to be ignored and he was picked to play for South Australia in the domestic circuit. Lyon got his maiden Test cap against Sri Lanka in 2011 and he justified his selection by dismissing Kumar Sangakkara with his first delivery in international cricket. Since then, there was no looking back for the spinner and the Aussie star is currently standing with 363 wickets in 91 Tests. Talking about his ability with the ball, let's look at five breathtaking spells by Nathan Lyon.
5/34 Against Sri Lanka in Galle
As mentioned above, the offie dismissed Sangakkara with his maiden delivery in Test cricket. Well, Lyon went on to scalp four more Lankan batsman in that innings. It was the first match of Australia's 2011 Tour of Sri Lanka and the visitors looked in trouble as they could only 274 in the first innings. However, debutant Lyon bowled a splendid spell in the second innings and bagged a five-wicket haul. Sri Lanka were packed for 110 runs and subsequently lost the match by 125 runs.
5/50 Against Australia in Melbourne
Lyon's other brilliant spell came against arch-rivals England in the fourth Test of 2013-14 Ashes. The series was majorly dominated by the pacers and England certainly would have prepared to tackle the likes of Mitchell Johnson and Ryan Harris. However, Lyon came out of the syllabus and took a splendid five-wicket haul. Courtesy his brilliance, England were dismissed for 255 runs in the first innings and later lost the match by eight wickets.
5/134 & 7/172 Against India in Adelaide
Virat Kohli mustered twin-centuries in the first Test of India's 2014-2015 Tour of Australia and was on the verge of guiding his side to a historic win. However, Nathan Lyon put up a magnificent show and spoiled India's party. He did bag a five-fer in India's first innings but it was his spell in the last innings which turned the match on its head. He ran through the visitor's middle order and From 242/2, India were bundled out for 315 runs and Australia registered a 48-run victory.
8/50 Against India in Bengaluru
Lyon's best figure in Test cricket came against a potent Indian batting line-up and that too in their own backyard. The occasion was the second Test of Australia's 2017 Tour of India and the hosts elected to bat first. The decision didn't prove much fruitful as the off-spinner bowled a sensational spell and dismissed eight batsmen. However, the Indian bowlers brought their side back into the match guided their side to a 75-run victory.
6/49 Against Australia in Birmingham
Fresh from winning the 2019 World Cup, England were high on confidence and were seeking to replicate their heroics in Ashes 2019 too. However, Lyon had some other plans as he ruined the moods of many Englishmen. In the first Test of the series, Steve Smith scored twin-centuries and gave Australia the upper hand. However, it was the off-spinner who stamped the visitor's victory. He took six wickets in the last innings of the match and guided Australia to a win by 251 runs.
With the ICC World Test Championship going on, Lyon will have a vital role to play in order to guide Australia to the title. His next assignment will get underway when Australia will take on Pakistan in a two-match Test series at home.