Aus vs Pak – 1st Test – Nathan Lyon joins the elite in the 500-wicket club


Lyon had been stalled on 496 wickets after his Ashes-ended calf injury earlier this year, but continued his fine record at the Optus Stadium. He moved to 499 wickets in Pakistan’s first innings when he claimed Abdullah Shafique, Imam-ul-Haq and Aamer Jamal.

For a little while it appeared he may run out of wickets as Australia’s quicks ran through Pakistan’s second innings, but in his seventh over he won an lbw decision against Ashraf via the DRS.

“It’s something I’m very proud about,” he told Channel Seven. “Ending my Ashes the way I did, I had a lot of time to think about it. To do all my rehab and get back here, it’s a special bunch of people. To take 500, it’s a bloody big milestone.

“Little bit of a trademark, I guess,” he added of the landmark wicket. “Left hander, sliding on and hitting the pad. Was worried about the height but the fielders said the height was okay. I thought it may be hitting leg stump. Lucky enough it was three reds”

Lyon joined Shane Warne (708) and Glenn McGrath (563) as Australia players in the 500 club while he is the fourth spinner in the list which also includes Muthiah Muralidaran and Anil Kumble.

“I still pinch myself when I see my name next to those guys,” he said. “I’m not even next below those guys in my eyes. Shane Warne is the greatest to ever play this game in my opinion and Glenn McGrath’s record speaks volumes. To edge closer to those guys, it’s something I’m proud of.”

Lyon made his Test debut against Sri Lanka at Galle in 2011 and claimed a wicket with his first ball when he had Kumar Sangakkara caught at slip. Although it took him a couple of years to become a permanent fixture in the side, his success ended a revolving door of spinners in the Test side following Warne’s retirement.

The next closest to joining the group on 500 wickets is fellow offspinner R Ashwin who currently sits on 489 ahead of India’s two-Test series in South Africa then five matches at home against England from late January.

“We’ve gone head-to-head many, many times in different conditions around the world,” Lyon said before the Perth Test. “I’ve got nothing but respect for Ashwin and the way he’s gone about it. I’ve definitely learnt off him. There’s an opportunity to learn off the people you play against and without knowing it, he’s probably been one of my biggest coaches in a way.

“It’s pretty amazing to see that we’re both creeping up to that 500 mark and we’ll see where we end up and hopefully at the end of our careers we’ll be able to sit down and have a nice feed and beer and talk about it.”


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