Domain Test Series v Pakistan
Lyon finds wisdom in a Berry close friend
Aussie off-spinner turned to a trusted source of advice before turning his way through Pakistan on day four in Adelaide
Martin Smith at the Adelaide Oval
2 December 2019, 10:17 PM AEST
A catch-up with a close confidant in his old home city has helped Nathan Lyon bring up a half-century of Test wickets at his former workplace and guide Australia to a sixth consecutive victory in day-night Test cricket.
Lyon's five second-innings wickets against Pakistan on Monday took him to 50 career wickets at the Adelaide Oval, where he famously worked as a groundsman before he started his rapid rise to the top echelons of Australia's Test wicket-takers.
Having taken just two wickets at a cost of 179 runs in Pakistan's first three innings of the series, Lyon's luck finally turned on Monday afternoon when Shaan Masood's lofted drive handed a simple catch to Mitchell Starc at mid-off.
He then took four of the remaining six wickets to fall to finish with figures of 5-69, his fourth five-wicket haul in nine Tests at the ground he knows better than any he's played at around the world.
The 32-year-old has never been shy in seeking advice from outside the Australian dressing-room, and credits former South Australia and Victoria spinner John Davison as well as Cricket Australia's Brisbane-based spin coach Craig Howard as being key sources of advice.
But it was a catch-up during the Test with his former his South Australia coach Darren Berry, who first took a punt on the off-spinner in 2011 when he was a member of the Adelaide Oval groundstaff, that provided Lyon with further comfort on his return to his old stomping ground.
"He knows me better than anyone so he's always passing on great knowledge," Lyon told cricket.com.au after Australia had completed a 2-0 series win.
"He was the first one to give me a go (so) I owe 'Chuck' (Berry) a lot.
"I've got a lot of time for Chuck, he's a brilliant cricket coach and someone who is very important to have in my corner.
"I'm pretty happy with the outside help, but it's just about staying patient and trusting what works for you.
"I'm very lucky with the bowling squad that we've got. We know if we build pressure from both ends, hopefully we'll create some chances."
Skipper Tim Paine praised his spinner and acknowledged that Lyon's match figures of 5-134 would have been much better if not for a missed stumping chance and a dropped catch at short leg during what was a frustrating first innings for the tweaker.
"I think he bowled really well in the first innings as well, we just let him down (and) missed some chances off him," Paine said.
"But I think 'Lyno' today turned up and did exactly what we wanted him to do, particularly in the second innings – win us Test matches.
"And again, I don't think people understand how difficult it can be with that pink ball, particularly during the day.
"For Lyno to still be getting spin and bounce and challenging batsmen at all times and creating chances for our team is an unbelievable effort and why he's such a great bowler."
Having sent down 176 consecutive overs with an at-times lifeless pink Kookaburra, Australia's four-man attack now have a 10-day break before the start of their three-match Domain Test Series against New Zealand.
As ever, Lyon was keen to shift praise onto his teammates and said his bag of wickets on Monday was due in no small part to the work of Australia's pace trio, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins.
"It was just about hanging in there and staying patient," he said. "And with the bowling attack that we've got, it's pretty amazing to build pressure from both ends. It's amazing to be a part of something pretty special like that.
"I got the reward today, but we'll just keep working together."
Domain Test Series v Pakistan
Australia squad: Tim Paine (c), Cameron Bancroft, Joe Burns, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner
Pakistan squad: Azhar Ali (c), Abid Ali, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Imam-ul-Haq, Imran Khan Snr, Iftikhar Ahmed, Kashif Bhatti, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Musa Khan, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood, Yasir Shah.
First Test: Australia won by an innings and five runs.