Ashes looms large as Lyon's record builds | cricket.com.au

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Ashes looms large as Lyon's record builds

Test spinner has built an enviable list of accomplishments in a little under six years in the job

Nathan Lyon isn't one for public acknowledgement of personal accomplishments but the unassuming tweaker's growing Test record is inevitably creeping into the spotlight.

Lyon will head into this summer's Ashes series as his side's most experienced player, as Australia's second-most capped spin bowler, and possibly as the second-highest wicket-taking spinner in the history of the Baggy Green.

It's a record that has been compiled in a little under six years, throughout which the 29-year-old has survived several axings as well as regular selection pressure.

"I'm getting old," he told The Unplayable Podcast with a grin. "If someone said you'd be the most capped player in a Test team for Australia a few years ago, I'd have said 'you're kidding yourself'.

"It's been a fun ride so far but there's still a few personal goals I want to achieve, and some big team ones I want to be a part of."

Looming large on the individual front is 250 Test wickets – a milestone only Shane Warne has reached among Australian spinners, and one ticked off by just six Australian quicks.

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Presently, the late, great Richie Benaud is one ahead of Lyon's tally of 247 Test wickets, but if the country NSW product heads to Bangladesh for two Tests in August, he would be likely to enter the home summer having knocked off the legendary leggie, as well as passing the 250 mark.

Then of course, there's the Ashes – the pre-eminent Test series for Australian and English cricketers and one that captures the attention of the cricket world.

"It's hard not to think about it," Lyon conceded. "Everywhere you go someone's asking about the Ashes.

"As a kid growing up it's the series you want to play in.

"I've been in three now, lost two, won one, so hopefully I can even that up.

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"Here at home, it's unbelievable – last time they were out here we won five-nil, everywhere we went around the whole of Australia people were supporting you, especially with big 'Johnno' (Mitchell Johnson, who took 37 wickets) running in.

"That's up there with my favourite series I've played in – the Ashes is just phenomenal."

Lyon said his own planning for the five-Test series had already begun – the off-spinner has been closely watching the ongoing England versus South Africa series, attempting to pick apart batting techniques.

England are the holders of the urn, having prevailed 3-2 on home soil in 2015, a series that saw the retirement of former captain Michael Clarke.

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Since, Steve Smith has taken on the role impressively, with the dynamic right-hander's batting going to a new level, while a generational shift has seen a new batch of players take centre stage.

That's expected to continue this summer, with the likes of relative newcomers Peter Handscomb, Matt Renshaw and Pat Cummins expected to all play pivotal roles.

Lyon said a combination of youthful exuberance and some seasoned heads will help Smith's side when it comes to taking on the English, who themselves will head Down Under with a new captain, Joe Root, at the helm.

"It's a massive summer," he said. "Hopefully our senior guys can lead from the front, and some of the younger guys can really step up and play some positive cricket."