Lyon embraces Asian challenge

On a tense opening day of the second Test between Bangladesh and Australia in Chittagong the visitors were given a foothold in the match by spinner Nathan Lyon.

Lyon moved to seventh on Australia’s all-time Test wicket-takers list with figures of 5/77 as Bangladesh reached 253/6 by stumps.

The tweaker feels that they key to bowling well in Asia is having confidence and admits to studying India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin for some tips on how to achieve success on the Subcontinent.

Lyon told a press conference in Chittagong: “I think it’s a lot to do with confidence.

“This is probably my sixth tour in the subcontinent area so I think leading an attack where I’ve played the most games, lead the wicket column with the bowling group, I’ve put enough pressure on myself to go out there and perform well.

“I’ve watched a lot of footage of Ashwin, who in my book is probably the No. 1 spinner in the world. So in these conditions it’s all about adapting and learning and probably putting your ego aside, and what works for me in Australia probably doesn’t really work here in the subcontinent. Saying that it’s also my strength as well, so I can’t go too far from that.

“I have to put my ego away and really bowl with confidence, in my terms ‘bowl ugly’. That might be round-arm for me, trying to undercut the ball a little bit more but using my stock ball as a variation. I think I’ve learnt a lot in the subcontinent and I’m embracing the challenge.”

Australia fielded three frontline spinners for the first time in 11 years but were surprised to find the pitch not as responsive to turn as they anticipated.

Lyon added: “I think the wicket’s going to deteriorate, yeah for sure, but I think I might have spun one ball out of 28 overs today.

“There’s not much spin there at the moment so it’s a good challenge for us spinners to challenge the batters and challenge their defence on a wicket like this. But subcontinent wickets around the world spin when the game goes on so I’ve got no doubt that this one will.”

Bangladesh rallied well after Lyon’s early success leaving the game hanging in the balance.

Lyon went on: “It’s pretty even.

“They played well. Sabbir and the skipper, they batted really well, they took the game on, they played some brave cricket.

“You’ve got to give credit where credit’s due. They played some good shots. But at the end of the day I was pretty proud of our bowlers’ efforts to go out there and keep fighting all the way through to the 90th over.

“As I said before, that was the hardest conditions I’ve ever had. The wicket’s not really doing much, there’s not much spin, there’s no bounce. So to challenge the Bangladesh batters as much as we could, I thought it was a pretty good day to be honest.”