Thanks to eight Nathan Lyon Wickets at Edgbaston, Australia were able to pull off one of their greatest victories in the first Test of the Ashes 2023. If you're looking for more on the Aussie off-spinner in international cricket, you're at the right place because we bring you everything you need to know about Nathan Lyon.
They call Nathan Lyon the GOAT – the greatest Australian off-spinner ever. And he has more than earned that tag with numerous match-winning performances over the years. For the last decade, Lyon has been a key part of Australia's Test side and has performed well almost everywhere.
Nathan Lyon is a traditional off-spinner who relies mostly on beating the batters with flight and turn. In recent times, he has added some more weapons in his arsenal and has tasted success. Lyon has represented Australia in 152 matches in international cricket. In those, he has taken a humongous 525 wickets in total.
Lyon has predominantly been a Test player and has played 121 Tests. He has taken 495 wickets in the format at an average of 30.99. In ODI cricket, Lyon has played 29 matches and has picked as many wickets while in T20I cricket, he has one wicket from two outings.
Having given you the number of Nathan Lyon wickets in each format, we will now talk about his journey in international cricket and some of his best performances.
Nathan Lyon Journey
Born on November 20, 1987 in New South Wales, Nathan Lyon moved to Canberra early in his childhood. There he played some grade cricket and learned the basics of spin bowling. In 2010, he moved to Adelaide and took up a job as curator with the Adelaide Oval ground staff.
Nathan Lyon made a big impression during 2010-11 KFC Twenty20 Big Bash, where he finished as the leading wicket-taker with his side Redbacks winning the competition. Lyon made his first class debut within months, playing for South Australia in the Sheffield Shield.
In August 2011, Nathan Lyon made his international debut on the tour of Sri Lanka and he claimed the wicket off his very first ball in Test cricket, having Kumar Sangakkara caught at slip. He played his first home Test at the Gabba against New Zealand, where he claimed the match figures of 7 for 88.
Lyon didn't have a great series against India at home, picking seven wickets from three Tests at 41.57 average. He was dropped from the first two Tests of the 2013 Ashes in England. He was brought back in the third Test and played a crucial role in the fourth Test, where he picked 4/42 on the first day.
The 2014 home series versus India was perhaps the moment that Nathan Lyon cemented his place in Australia's side. He picked five wickets in the first innings and seven in the second as they clinched the victory.
Becoming a Test specialist
Being a traditional finger spinner went against Nathan Lyon when it comes to limited overs cricket. The white-ball game changed drastically in the last decade as it became more suited to wrist spinners and only defensive finger spinners could survive.
Nathan Lyon wasn't picked for the 2015 ODI World Cup, and that pretty much was the end of his fifty-over career for a while. He was given another chance in 2019, where he played 14 ODIs including four in the World Cup but could not make much impact. He only played two T20I matches, one in 2016 and the other in 2018. Nathan Lyon Test wickets, though, kept rising.
While his limited-overs career went nowhere, he continued to build his legacy in the longer format. In 2019, Lyon was awarded Cricket Australia's Allan Border Medal for the Men's Test Player of the Year.
In December 2021, Lyon became only the third Australian bowler behind Glenn McGrath and Shand Warne to pick 400 wickets in Test cricket. As of this date, Nathan Lyon is five wickets shy of becoming only the eighth bowler in the history of Test cricket to breach the 500-wicket barrier.
One question mark that stayed with Lyon for a long time was his performances in the subcontinent but he changed that too in the last one year. Lyon took 9/121 in the first Test against Sri Lanka at Galle last year to help his side win the game. Earlier this year, he picked 11/99 versus India at Indore as Australia clinched the match by nine wickets.
Best performances: Test, ODI, T20I
Nathan Lyon, being a Test specialist for the majority of his career, doesn't have many notable performances in the ODI format. But there's a long list of his match-winning performances in Test cricket, with some exceptional scalps in the collection of Nathan Lyon Test wickets. Lyon has 23 five-wicket hauls in the format and has taken 10 wickets in a match on four occasions.
Lyon's best bowling match figures came against Bangladesh in 2017 at Chattogram, where he picked 13/154. He claimed 7 for 94 in the first innings and followed it up with 6 for 60 to help Australia win the match by seven wickets and draw the two-match series. Earlier this year in March, Lyon delivered terrific match figures of 9/99 against India at Indore. He picked 3 for 35 in the first innings and went on to snare 8 for 64 in the second as the Aussies won the match by nine wickets.
Remember when Nathan Lyon – who turns 34 today! – took a wicket on the ball the MCG was all ready to scream ‘Niiiiice Garry' in unison? Good times 😂 Happy birthday, 🐐 pic.twitter.com/dH6roZwWRo
— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) November 20, 2021
Nathan Lyon registered his best innings figures against India at Bengaluru in the 2017 Border Gavaskar Trophy, picking 8 for 50. Lyon bowled 22.5 overs in the first innings to bowl out the hosts for 189. However, he ended on the losing side as Australia could not chase 188 in the fourth innings. Lyon's second best innings figures in Test cricket were also against India, coming at Indore in March.
Talking about ODIs, Lyon's career-best performance came during a tri-series, against Zimbabwe at Harare back in 2014. Australia managed only 209 runs while batting first and though Lyon picked 4 for 44 in 10 overs, they suffered a stunning defeat.
Nathan Lyon Wickets: Career Summary