A home-grown finger spinner
The wiry off-spinner was plucked from obscurity when, working as a curator’s assistant at Adelaide Oval, he was deemed to have skills more useful on turning pitches than helping to prepare them.
This observation and his subsequent escalation through state and national ranks appeared truly prescient when Nathan Lyon captured a wicket with his first ball in Test cricket – no less a victim than Sri Lankan maestro Kumar Sangakkara – and then went on to complete a five-wicket haul on debut.
Since that heady arrival on the international scene in 2011, Lyon has become the focus of intense scrutiny largely driven by his inability to repeat his Galle heroics on wearing final-day pitches.
However, in comparison to other Australian finger spinners of recent times, his record remains far from inconsequential.
A tally of 85 wickets at 33.23 from his first 25 Tests mounts a reasonable case for perseverance. Perhaps a more nuanced assessment will come during the 2013-14 Ashes summer when he goes head-to-head with the world’s pre-eminent Test offie, Graeme Swann.