Nathan Lyon's four-for gives Australia control of fourth Test

By @saihoops on
Nathan Lyon, Australia vs India
Cricket - India v Australia - Fourth Test cricket match - Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium, Dharamsala, India - 26/03/17 - Australia's Nathan Lyon (C) celebrates with his team-mates after dismissing India's captain Ajinkya Rahane. Reuters / Adnan Abidi

Off-spinner Nathan Lyon claimed four wickets as Australia restricted India to 248/6 at the end of Day 2 of the fourth and final Test match of the Border-Gavaskar series. Entering the third day, the home team trails Australia by 52 runs with Ravindra Jadeja (16 not out) and Wriddhiman Saha (10 not out) at the crease.

In reply to Australia's first-innings total of 300, the Indians were coasting at 157/2 until Lyon dismissed Cheteshwar Pujara (57) to breathe life back into the contest. Following Pujara's dismissal, the Indians lost Karun Nair (5) relatively quickly before losing Ajinkya Rahane (46) and R Ashwin (30) before stumps. At one stage, the Indians were coasting along at 108/1 with opener KL Rahul (60) and Puajara frustrating the visitors with a gritty partnership.  

Dharamsala Test: Nathan Lyon spins a web on India

As described by ESPNCricinfo, Lyon foxed Rahane, India's stand-in captain, with a steady line and length which yielded timely results. "Lyon's attack on Rahane was fascinating, as he varied quicker, straighter deliveries threatening the outside edge with loopier stuff devised to spin and catch the inside edge. Ultimately, it was one of the former offerings that found the edge and was exceptionally taken by Smith at slip, just as Rahane and R Ashwin had been threatening to build a partnership of value."

While fast bowlers Josh Hazleweood (1/40) and Pat Cummins (1/59) claimed one wicket apiece, Lyon dismissed Pujara, Rahane, Nair and Ashwin. “We’re quite positive. It’s an unbelievable feeling to be pretty evenly poised after day two. I know probably left a few runs out there (batting), but to have them 6-240 odd I am quite happy to be honest. Coming over here everyone wrote us off and to be in this position in the last Test with pressure slightly on India is fantastic. Hopefully (batting last) is going to be a massive challenge for them, but that really depends on how long we bat for and how many runs we can set them. We believe we’re good enough," Lyon said in the post match press conference, per The Daily Telegraph.

Lyon attributed his success to using the Dharamala wicket like he would utilise an Australian pitch. “After bowling a couple of overs before lunch I sat down and thought about what it (pitch) is similar to and it was closer to a home wicket where the bounce is my biggest weapon. That’s where I am getting guys caught at bat pad and slips. I went back to how I bowl which is probably how I should bowl."