Magellan Ashes 2017-18

Hungry Lyon not slowing down: Ponting

A stellar 2017 from the Australian off-spinner has the former Test skipper believing the 'GOAT' will be around for a long while yet

Sam Ferris, at the Adelaide Oval

05 December 2017, 12:56 PM

Ricky Ponting rates Aussie Adelaide classic catches

Champion batsman Ricky Ponting says Nathan Lyon could finish his career with more than 400 Test wickets as one of Australia's best-ever bowlers after the off-spinner reached new heights on Monday.

After taking 4-60 on day three in the second Magellan Ashes Test, Lyon moved to the top of the year's wicket-taker's list with 55 wickets in nine matches to be the outright leader for a few hours before India's Ravichandran Ashwin joined him after taking three wickets in Delhi against Sri Lanka.

Having turned 30 a fortnight ago and with 278 wickets already under his belt, Ponting sees no reason why Australia's 'Greatest Of All Time' off-spinner can't keep going well into the next decade.

"He could play for another five to seven years quite easily," Ponting told

"He's fit, he's bowling brilliantly, it doesn't look like he's going to slow down anytime soon.

"(Lyon's) is probably an underrated record.

"He's someone who's not spoken about anywhere near as much as he should be.

Lyon bags four more to continue dream 2017

"Look at what he's done through his career, it's fantastic.

"If he plays for another four or five years, and he's taken 50 wickets this year, times that by five or six and he could end up with 400 wickets-plus, there's no doubt about it.

"Let's keep our fingers crossed that he does."

Rewind 12 months and Lyon was fighting to keep his place in the team after a disappointing tour of Sri Lanka in the winter and a torrid start to the JLT Sheffield Shield season.

But the National Selection Panel stuck by him in the wake of the Hobart humiliation against South Africa and that faith has paid dividends.

Ponting says the self-belief Lyon has after hitting the lows of Sri Lanka is what has made him the force he is today, not only in Australia but elsewhere.

"Nathan's confidence has gone through the roof and it's grown tenfold since the tour of Sri Lanka last year when he lost all confidence," Ponting said.

"To be able to bounce back from that and have the year that he's had so far says a lot about him and the confidence the captain has in him.

"I've watched him for a long time, I've played with him for a few years, the way he's releasing the ball now is just absolutely superb.

"He sums up the conditions really well too.

Lyon v Starc: Whose catch was better?

"We saw that in Brisbane with a bit more over-spin that he put on the ball in the first innings of the game, he tries to get as much bounce as he can and he does get a lot of bounce for an off-spinner.

"I talked to him and Steve Smith this morning and they thought they could get a few of the left-handers caught at slip and as it turned out they got (Alastair) Cook caught at slip with a really good delivery."

All four of Lyon's wickets were English left-handers, including Stuart Broad. The tailender edged an off-break that gripped and bounced, with wicketkeeper Tim Paine taking a sharp chance.

"Tim Paine's catch to get rid of Stuart Broad was a good catch," Ponting said.

"He would have been unsighted by that. Broad was trying to work the ball to the leg-side and it caught the back edge of the bat and a good catch by the 'keeper."

Lyon's share: A 2017 to remember

Lyon started the year with five wickets against Pakistan during a 220-run win in Sydney, which included the prized scalps of veteran pair Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq, before Australia headed to India.

In the first Test in Pune, he played second fiddle to left-arm orthodox tweaker Stephen O'Keefe who took 12-70, chipping in with five wickets of his own.

Lyon roared in the next Test in Bangalore with a record 8-50 in India's first innings, the best bowling performance by any foreign bowler in India. It was a mesmerising display, highlighted by captain Virat Kohli shouldering arms to be trapped lbw.

Lyon tears India apart with eight-wicket haul

His prolific wicket-taking ways stalled across his next two innings. Figures of 0-82 in the second innings in Bangalore with a split spinning finger were followed by a punishing 1-163 from 49 overs in the stalemate in Ranchi.

But he bounced back in brilliant fashion in the final Test in Dharamsala where he picked up 5-92 from 34.1 overs and bowled with the control and precision of a surgeon.

Lyon turns Dharamsala Test with inspired spell

Across the four Tests, the 30-year-old took 19 wickets, before finding greener pastures still in Bangladesh.

In Australia's shock 20-run loss in the first Test in Dhaka in August, Lyon poached nine wickets, including 6-82 in the second innings.

'GOAT' returns second-best Test figures

But the best was yet to come. In Chittagong, he opened the bowling alongside Pat Cummins and snared 7-94 in the first innings before taking 6-60 in the second to finish with 13-154 for the match and 22 wickets for the series, the most by an Australian in a two-Test series.

Back on Australian soil, Lyon collected five wickets and found uncharacteristic raging spin at the Gabba before his four-wicket haul in the first innings in Adelaide claimed the bowling honours among the Australians.

Lyon's 13 wickets sets a new Australian record

2017-18 International Fixtures

Magellan Ashes Series

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

England Test squad: Joe Root (c), James Anderson (vc), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Gary Ballance, Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Mason Crane, Tom Curran, Ben Foakes, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ben Stokes, Mark Stoneman, James Vince, Chris Woakes.

First Test Australia won by 10 wickets. Scorecard

Second Test Adelaide Oval, December 2-6 (Day-Night). Tickets

Third Test WACA Ground, December 14-18. Tickets

Fourth Test MCG, December 26-30. Tickets

Fifth Test SCG, January 4-8 (Pink Test). Tickets

Gillette ODI Series v England

First ODI MCG, January 14. Tickets

Second ODI Gabba, January 19. Tickets

Third ODI SCG, January 21. Tickets

Fourth ODI Adelaide Oval, January 26. Tickets

Fifth ODI Perth Stadium, January 28. Tickets

Prime Minister's XI

PM's XI v England Manuka Oval, February 2. Tickets

Gillette T20 trans-Tasman Tri-Series

First T20I Australia v NZ, SCG, February 3. Tickets

Second T20I – Australia v England, Blundstone Arena, February 7. Tickets

Third T20I – Australia v England, MCG, February 10. Tickets

Fourth T20I – NZ v England, Wellington, February 14

Fifth T20I – NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16

Sixth T20I – NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18

Final – TBC, Eden Park, February 21