Manchester, Aug 30 : Nathan Lyon's missed run-out chance that denied Australia victory might be one of the images of a thrilling Headingley Test, but his captain Tim Paine is backing him to bounce back from disappointment and be a major "weapon" for them in their quest to retain the Ashes.
Lyon's 6/49 in Birmingham in a match-haul of nine in the first Test was crucial in rolling England over for a 1-0 lead. He then took 3/68 in England's first innings at Lord's, but since then has gone for 0/102 and 2/114.
At Headingley, he overtook Dennis Lillee to be third on Australia's all-time list of highest wicket-takers. He could have added more to his tally, but as Paine pointed out, he has been unlucky. For example, in the third Test, a ball after the missed run-out, with England still needing two runs to win with only wicket in hand, Lyon had a chance to be Australia's hero when he appeared to trap Ben Stokes in front. However, it was not given and Australia didn't have a review left.
Paine is convinced the series hasn't seen the last of Stokes v Lyon yet, and backed his off-spinner to be the one to "contain" the England all-rounder, who has picked up two match awards so far, an ICC report on Friday said.
Urging his team-mates to hold on to their chances in the field, the skipper said, "I think Nathan Lyon in the last two Tests alone has got him out five or six times had we held our catches or referred our lbws. Lyon's still a huge weapon against him, and there's some things we've spoken about with our fast bowlers where we think we can do things a little better than him."
As Australia look to recover from the shock defeat in the third Test, they are still not certain who their fast bowlers will be for the fourth Test. Mitchell Starc, who comfortably finished as the leading wicket-taker in the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019, still hasn't got a game, and made another case for himself by picking up three wickets in an over in their tour game in Derby.
"Starc has been working really hard in the nets on his control, on his lengths," said Paine. "I thought his new ball spell was really good, didn't get the wickets he deserved. He bowled with good pace on what looked to be slow wickets. We're happy with what we saw with the new ball, and we know what he can do when you get the tail in."The fourth Test begins in Manchester on September 4. (UNI)