Adelaide is ‘going to be a good challenge for me’, says Nathan Lyon

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“It looks like I’m going to be able to bowl a few overs here and I’m looking forward to that challenge [of] bowling to their batsmen”

Australia off-spinner Nathan Lyon has admitted that the second Test in Adelaide is “going to be a good challenge for me” after he was absolutely dominated by England batsman Kevin Pietersen at the same venue in the 2010-11 Ashes series.

Lyon happened to be on the groundstaff team and recalled how Pietersen had branded the pitch as “pathetic” before he went on to smash an outstanding 227 in England’s innings and 71-run win.

“I was sitting on the roller watching the whole time and preparing to put the covers on the last day when England won,” Lyon said when reminiscing about the 2010-11 Ashes series. “I was cutting the ground every morning so it was a different view and I can’t wait to be out there enjoying an Ashes Test match … [Pietersen] had a fair crack at us.”

With the traditional Adelaide pitch being replaced by a drop-in one, it will be extremely difficult for the pace bowlers to pick up wickets due to the fact that fast bowlers in the Sheffield Shield have only managed to take 23 wickets there at a dismal average of 57.08.

The spinners have had a lot more success there, taking 28 wickets at a more respectable average of 41.39.

“I’ve had a chat to Damo, my old boss, and it looks an absolute belter of a pitch, so credit to Damian,” Lyon said. “It looks pretty similar to what we’re used to here in Adelaide. It might be a tad slower, but it looks pretty good. It’s going to be a great challenge for both teams.

“It’s going to be a good challenge for me. Test pitches are totally different to Shield pitches. Fingers crossed there’ll be some foot marks there and over five days it may break up, who knows. It looks like I’m going to be able to bowl a few overs here and I’m looking forward to that challenge [of] bowling to their batsmen. If I can hold up one end and rotate our quicks it’s going to hopefully keep their legs as fresh as possible and they can bowl a few fast bumpers again.”

Lyon was heavily criticised last year for not bowling Australia to victory during the final day of the second Test against South Africa.

However, the criticism was uncalled for as Lyon ended up taking three wickets for 49 runs off the 50 overs he bowled.

“You can thank Shane Warne for that, that’s all I have to say about that,” Lyon said. “Shane Warne produced that for the spinners and that’s part of the game. But saying that, there’s 11 guys out there and usually about four or five bowlers. If we bowl together we’ll win.

“Unfortunately last year James Pattinson went down with an injury. I’m sure if we had him up and going we would have won that Test. But injuries do happen and we can’t control that. There’s a lot of expectations but if we bowl well as a unit there’s no reason why we can’t beat anyone.”

While Warne has given the odd piece of advice to Lyon, it is another spinner who has really guided and developed the 26-year-old into a superstar.

That person is former Canada all-rounder and current Australia spin coach John Davison.

“I’ve spoken to Warney a bit, especially over there in England,” Lyon said. “It’s fantastic for me, he’s someone I can always call up and ask for a bit of advice or his opinion. But I’ve got John Davison here and he’s one that I’ve really been working closely with.”

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