Qantas Tour of South Africa

Lyon unfazed by South African pace boost

Spinner says he can still play a role against the Proteas, despite recent conditions favouring the quicks


2 February 2018, 10:23 AM AEST

The prospect of a fast-bowling paradise in South Africa doesn't worry Test spinner Nathan Lyon, who is adamant his opportunities won't dry up on green pitches.

The Proteas' recent home series victory over India was characterised by pace-friendly pitches, with batsmen on both sides struggling against impressive seam-bowling attacks.

Bowlers dominate in epic Proteas v India clash

Both teams even entered the final Test of the series with a five-man pace attack and no frontline spinner on a Wanderers surface that was later rated 'poor' by the International Cricket Council.

Kagiso Rabada, Vernon Philander, Morne Morkel and newcomer Lungi Ngidi took full advantage of the conditions to steer the Proteas to a 2-1 series win and will be eyeing a repeat when the first Test against Australia begins on March 1.

Fresh from playing a key role in Australia's Ashes win, Lyon isn't worried about the prospect of conditions not favouring his bowling.

And while Dale Steyn might also return from injury to give the Proteas further firepower, he pointed out that Australia aren't lacking pace spearheads either.

"I think there's a good opportunity (for me)," Lyon said.

"I believe the Australian bowling attack is probably the best bowling attack in the world and it's going to come up against a bowling group that's going to rival that.

"It's going to be one hell of a series with the two bowling attacks going at each other."

The best of Australia's bowlers in the Ashes

Lyon has played five Tests in South Africa, two in 2011 and three in 2014, for a return of 12 wickets at 36. On average, he's bowled 10 overs less per match in South Africa than he has in other parts of the world.

With the fast bowlers set to thrive, Lyon said the side's batsmen will need to get the job done.

"It's going to come down to how well we bat in those conditions and vice versa," Lyon said.

Lyon completes magnificent seven over Moeen

Lyon will captain the Prime Minister's XI on Friday night against England in the annual clash at Manuka Oval, where the off-spinner used to work as a groundsman.

While Test-capped allrounder Moises Henriques (side strain) and Brisbane Heat quick Brendan Doggett (ankle) have been ruled out, the team still boasts seven players with international experience.

Sydney Thunder duo Gurinder Sandhu and Kurtis Patterson replace the injured duo in the XI, which includes wicketkeeper Peter Nevill and fellow Test discard Peter Handscomb.

Allrounder James Faulkner is proven on the international stage, while in-form batsman Nic Maddinson is coming off a strong BBL.

Prime Minister's XI: Nathan Lyon (c), Sean Abbott, James Faulkner, Sebastian Gotch, Peter Handscomb, Daniel Hughes, Nic Maddinson, Peter Nevill, Kurtis Patterson, Gurinder Sandhu, Mitchell Swepson.

Qantas tour of South Africa

Australia squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Cameron Bancroft, Jackson Bird, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Tim Paine, Jhye Richardson, Mitchell Starc.

Warm-up match v SA Invitational XI, Sahara Park, Benoni, Feb 22-24

First Test Kingsmead, Durban, March 1-5

Second Test St George's Park, Port Elizabeth, March 9-13

Third Test Newlands, Cape Town, March 22-26

Fourth Test Wanderers, Johannesburg, March 30-April 3