You may blame the pitch all you want, but Nathan Lyon put on a lion’s show in the second Indian innings of the third Test in Indore. He performed all the dirty work in the first innings as well, scalping three and allowing Matthew Kuhnemman to reap the benefits for his maiden fifer. Lyon, on the other hand, took the lead in the second innings, putting on a masterclass.
Even if there is assist off the surface, it is critical to bowl in the correct spots over and over. That was clear in the early half of the morning session, when both Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel struggled to make inroads because they bowled too full for the pitch’s liking. Lyon would have definitely noticed that and more significantly how R Ashwin pushed the length and India back into the game during their probing stint post drinks.
Lyon stepped out to deliver with identical intentions, but the 31st over of the innings was a showcase of excellent off-spin bowling. The 35-year-old demonstrated how being a little faster in the afternoon session was optimal for victory on this track.
The Game changing over
He began with a few of deliveries to Pujara, both from the nice length location. Speeds in the early 90s for typical off-spinners going towards the right-hander. When Jadeja came on strike, he increased the speed to 96.6 kmph and induced one to drift into the left-hander from the nice length location. Jadeja was clearly outpaced and couldn’t get the bat down in time, but the angle protected him from a loud LBW call.
Nathon Lyon then beat everyone by bowling much slower (88.2 kmph), getting a massive turn and going through Jadeja’s defence, making it tough for Alex Carey to make the grab. On that instance, Jadeja was entirely squared up, and the extra bounce did shake him up a little. Jadeja, who was still healing from his previous two deliveries, was defeated by the drift rather than the turn. Probably took the wrong line and striking the ball below the knee-roll meant three reds all the way. The wicket ball was faster (94.3 kmph), and the diversity of angles Lyon provided in that over was too much for even Jadeja.
Six of Lyon’s eventual eight wickets came from solid length areas, and the delivery to dismiss Jadeja was slightly shorter than the other four. He barely went full and kept using pitch and angle with just the appropriate amount of spin and drift.
Nathan Lyon had cheaply dismissed openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill prior to his brilliant over. When Gill threw away his wicket with a careless drive, Rohit saw a flashback to the Delhi Test. The only difference is that he was bowled there, but he was LBW here. On both cases, it was an error in estimating the length that caused the curtains to fall.
Lyon maintained his pace at 90 kmph and bowled one considerably quicker to go through KS Bharat’s defence in the 41st over of India’s innings. Bharat was trying to defend one off the front foot, but he was hoping for a turn that wasn’t there. That ball stayed on course and collided with the top of off-stump. The offender had his fourth and later trapped Ashwin in front to finish his 23rd Test fifer.
The most memorable would have been his sixth wicket, when he dismissed a well-set Cheteshwar Pujara, but credit for that wicket belongs solely to Steve Smith. Pujara looked to clip it fine, which he did, but an alert Smith reacted quickly and pulled one out of thin air, diving low to his right. From then, it was all formality as he took no time in getting rid of the tail and putting Australia in a match-winning position. As Vikram Rathour stated in the post-day press conference on Day 1, this innings would be critical for the hosts, and they would need to bat large.
Lyon, on the other hand, had other plans and reaped the benefits of adhering to the length and then doing his magic from the same spot over and over. On pitches like these, where anything may happen from anywhere, batters tend to focus more on the pitch activity and less on the hand. The small modifications in grip, seam position, and release points become much more beneficial at this time.
India leads the series 2-0 with victories in Nagpur and New Delhi.
Also Read: IND vs AUS 3rd Test Day 2: Cheteshwar Pujara fights lone battle as Nathan Lyon Put India Under Pressure
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