Nathan Lyon seems to enjoy bowling at the Gabba: he has 24 wickets at 23.95 © Getty Images
Statistics can tell a story, but which story depends on which statistics. For example, how should Nathan Lyon expect to go against Pakistan at the Gabba this week? Badly, if you look at his Test record against Pakistan: three wickets at 140.66. Brilliantly, if you consider his Test record at the Gabba: 24 wickets at 23.95. It is the latter that gives Lyon confidence after he struggled against Pakistan in the UAE in 2014.
“They play spin well but hopefully I can generate a bit more bounce than I did in the UAE,” Lyon said in Brisbane on Monday. “Hopefully there will be a little bit more pace in the wicket as well so if there are any nicks they will carry and I will be able to hit the splice of the bats with a few bat-pads and a few caught I hope.”
Lyon is far from the only spinner who has enjoyed working at the Gabba: at no venue did Shane Warne take more Test wickets than the 68 he accumulated in Brisbane. And yet, every year Lyon is bemused – and amused – by the media’s preoccupation with pace at the Gabba. Will Australia play four fast men? Lyon hasn’t missed a Gabba Test, and he’s not about to now.
“I’ll tell you one thing, this is my sixth [Gabba] Test and every year you guys seem to write that,” Lyon said. “So I’ll leave you guys to write that, that there’s going to be four quicks and stuff. I’m confident of playing, I’ll put it that way.”
The Gabba pitches prepared by curator Kevin Mitchell Jr typically offer some movement off the surface and plenty of bounce – Lyon especially enjoys running his fingers up the back of the ball to get the ball to kick off the pitch. And he will do so this year with a certain monkey off his back, having picked up four wickets in the Adelaide Test against South Africa.
Lyon may have more than 200 Test wickets but still was likely to be axed for the Adelaide Test had Steve O’Keefe not suffered a calf niggle that rendered him unavailable for selection. When Lyon finally took his first wicket in the Adelaide Test, it ended a drought of 660 first-class deliveries without a wicket, stretching across Test and Sheffield Shield play.
“I felt like I was bowling well,” Lyon said. “There were a couple of chances that went down here and there but I’m never going to sit here and blame anyone for missing a chance. We train hard enough and that’s just the way cricket goes.
“I was actually happy with the way I was bowling and to be able to come out in Adelaide and contribute to a Test match win, that’s my biggest thing. My biggest thing is bowling well in partnerships and going out there and taking 20 wickets as a bowling group.”
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo