Pakistan

England pull off record chase to level series against India

England pull off record chase to level series against India

05/07/2022, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 30766087

England rode unbeaten hundreds by Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow to pull off their highest successful chase, coasting to a series-levelling seven-wicket victory in the rearranged fifth test against India at Edgbaston on Tuesday.

Chasing 378 for victory, England went into the final day needing 119 runs with seven wickets in hand.

Root went on to smash a masterly 142 not out, his 28th test century, forging a mammoth 269-run partnership for the unbroken fourth wicket with Bairstow.

Root’s elegant hundred was studded with 19 boundaries and a six.

Bairstow’s unbeaten 114, which included 15 fours and a six, was his second hundred of the match as England triumphed with two sessions to spare.

England’s previous highest successful run chase came in 2019 when they reached a 359-run target in an Ashes test against Australia on the back of Stokes’s brilliant unbeaten century.

It was a tremendous turnaround by England who had been on the back foot after conceding a significant first-innings lead of 132.

Root and Bairstow showed the kind of sustained aggression which is quickly becoming the hallmark of this England test team since Brendon McCullum took over as the head coach and Ben Stokes assumed captaincy.

Root grew so much in confidence that he treated Shardul Thakur like a spinner, stepping out against the seamer and then playing an audacious reverse-scoop against him that sailed over for a six.

Bairstow brought up his fourth hundred in five innings with a tight single before hitting Mohammed Siraj for three successive boundaries.

The five-match series against India could not be completed last year following Covid-19 cases in the India camp ahead of the final match at Old Trafford.



https://www.dawn.com/news/1698348/england-pull-off-record-chase-to-level-series-against-india
Officials investigate racist abuse allegations during India-England Test at Edgbaston

Officials investigate racist abuse allegations during India-England Test at Edgbaston

05/07/2022, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 30765873

Warwickshire County Cricket Club said officials are investigating allegations of racist behaviour among members of the crowd at Edgbaston on the fourth day of the fifth Test between England and India.

A number of supporters said on Twitter they had been targeted by racist abuse from other fans at the Birmingham venue on Monday.

Former Yorkshire spinner Azeem Rafiq shared a thread detailing some of the incidents and wrote that they were "disappointing to read".

Rafiq's testimony to a British parliamentary committee last year led to an investigation into claims of institutional racism at Yorkshire and resulted in major reforms.

Edgbaston's official Twitter account responded to Rafiq's tweet saying that they would investigate the matter as soon as possible.

The England & Wales Cricket Board said in a statement it was "very concerned" by the reports.

"I'm gutted by these reports as we're working hard to make Edgbaston a safe, welcoming environment for all," Stuart Cain, chief executive at Edgbaston, said on Monday.

"Having seen the initial tweets, I've spoken personally to the gentleman who raised them and we're now speaking to the stewards in this area to establish what happened.

"Nobody should be subject to any form of abuse at Edgbaston. So, once we've got all the facts, we will make sure this issue is addressed swiftly."

The Bharat Army, India's official global supporters' group, later said many of its members had been targeted by "a very small minority".

"We will work with @Edgbaston to share all your feedback. Thank you to those England fans who stood by us," it added.

The rearranged fifth Test will resume on Tuesday (today), with England needing 119 runs on the final day for a series-levelling victory.



https://www.dawn.com/news/1698334/officials-investigate-racist-abuse-allegations-during-india-england-test-at-edgbaston
Officials investigate racist abuse allegations during India-England Test at Edgbaston

Officials investigate racist abuse allegations during India-England Test at Edgbaston

05/07/2022, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 30765831

Warwickshire County Cricket Club said officials are investigating allegations of racist behaviour among members of the crowd at Edgbaston on the fourth day of the fifth Test between England and India.

A number of supporters said on Twitter they had been targeted by racist abuse from other fans at the Birmingham venue on Monday.

Former Yorkshire spinner Azeem Rafiq shared a thread detailing some of the incidents and wrote that they were “disappointing to read”.

Rafiq’s testimony to a British parliamentary committee last year led to an investigation into claims of institutional racism at Yorkshire and resulted in major reforms.

Edgbaston’s official Twitter account responded to Rafiq’s tweet saying that they would investigate the matter as soon as possible.

The England & Wales Cricket Board said in a statement it was “very concerned” by the reports.

“I’m gutted by these reports as we’re working hard to make Edgbaston a safe, welcoming environment for all,” Stuart Cain, chief executive at Edgbaston, said on Monday.

“Having seen the initial tweets, I’ve spoken personally to the gentleman who raised them and we’re now speaking to the stewards in this area to establish what happened.

“Nobody should be subject to any form of abuse at Edgbaston. So, once we’ve got all the facts, we will make sure this issue is addressed swiftly.”

The Bharat Army, India’s official global supporters’ group, later said many of its members had been targeted by “a very small minority”.

“We will work with @Edgbaston to share all your feedback. Thank you to those England fans who stood by us,” it added.

The rearranged fifth Test will resume on Tuesday (today), with England needing 119 runs on the final day for a series-levelling victory.



https://www.dawn.com/news/1698334/officials-investigate-racist-abuse-allegations-during-india-england-test-at-edgbaston
Kyrgios shrugs off injury to reach Wimbledon quarters

Kyrgios shrugs off injury to reach Wimbledon quarters

05/07/2022, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 30765767

LONDON: Nick Kyrgios shrugged off a shoulder injury to beat Brandon Nakashima in five sets and book a place in the Wimbledon quarter-finals on Monday, staying on course for a blockbuster clash against Rafael Nadal.

The maverick Australian was on his best behaviour just two days after his stormy third-round victory against Stefanos Tsitsipas, winning 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-2), 3-6, 6-2.

Kyrgios kept his cool on a sun-drenched Centre Court in match lasting three hours and 11 minutes to book a last-eight tie against Chile’s Cristian Garin.

The 27-year-old recovered from a slow start and his shoulder issue to strike his groundstrokes more freely as the match went on.

Kyrgios, who had regular physio treatments, hammered 79 winners including 35 aces, breaking the 20-year-old Nakashima’s serve three times to improve to 11-2 on grass in 2022.

The last time the 40th-ranked player reached the last eight at a major was at the Australian Open in 2015, a year after he reached the same stage on his debut at the All England Club.

“I have played a lot of tennis in the past month and a half,” he said.

“I am proud of the way I steadied the ship after he came out firing in the fourth set.

“My five-set record is pretty good. That is what I was thinking about. I have played a lot of five-set matches here.”

Kyrgios will next play Garin, who battled back from two sets down and saved two match points to beat 19th seed Alex de Minaur of Australia.

The unseeded Chilean took the third set on a tie-break and went on to win 2-6, 5-7, 7-6 (7-3), 6-4, 7-6 (10-6) in a gruelling contest lasting four hours and 34 minutes.

“I tried to be aggressive, went to the net, and tried to be aggressive with my serve as well. I think that was the key,” he said.

Elsewhere, 11th seed Taylor Fritz cruised past Australian qualifier Jason Kubler 6-3, 6-1, 6-4.

In the women’s competition, Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina reached the quarter-finals for the first time with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Petra Martic of Croatia.

She will face either Alize Cornet of France or Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic for a place in the semi-finals.

JABEUR EDGES PAST MERTENS

Late on Sunday, Ons Jabeur’s hopes of becoming the first African to lift the Rosewater Dish gathered momentum as she edged out Belgian Elise Mertens 7-6 (9), 6-4 in a topsy-turvy encounter to reach the Wimbledon quarter-finals for the second year running.

The second-ranked Tunisian, the only seed left in the bottom half of the women’s draw, has been the form player over the opening week of the grasscourt championships as she reached the last eight without dropping a set.

“It’s never easy to play anyone during a Grand Slam. Especially with my position, everybody wants to grab the win,” she said.

“I have my goals very high for this tournament ... no matter who’s coming, I’m going to build the fight, I’m going to fight till the end because I really want the title.”

Mertens was no pushover during the contest as she twice came back from a break down in the first set and earned five set points during the marathon tiebreak.

But once Jabeur produced the firepower to wriggle out of trouble, she raised her game in the second set and wrapped up the win when Mertens surrendered with a double fault.

The 27-year-old will next meet 66th-ranked Czech challenger Marie Bouzkova, who beat beat Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia 7-5, 6-2 to reach the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time.

DJOKOVIC, SINNER ADVANCE

In the men’s event on Sunday, top seed Novak Djokovic raised his level to put an end to the fairytale run of Dutch wildcard Tim van Rijthoven during a battling 6-2, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 victory and keep his title defence on track.

The Serb broke his opponent’s serve twice in the opening set while saving three break points to take a one-set lead.

Van Rijthoven, the clear underdog against the 20-time major winner, brought the crowd under the Centre Court lights to their feet when he broke the 20-times major winner’s serve in the second set to level the contest.

But Djokovic showed why he has won 25 consecutive matches on grass, taking his level up a few notches in the third set to break twice and shut down the momentum the Dutchman had gained.

The 35-year-old got a break early in the fourth and let out roars of “come on” with his fists clenched, while a second break in the seventh game put the top seed firmly in control.

Djokovic then converted his first match point with a forehand winner — his 28th of the evening — to keep his title defence rolling on grass. Djokovic will play Italian 10th seed Jannik Sinner for a place in Friday’s semi-finals after the 20-year-old ousted fifth-seeded Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz in the previous contest on Centre Court.

Sinner enjoyed a night to remember as he toppled Alcaraz with a barnstorming 6-1, 6-4, 6-7 (8), 6-3 win in a battle of the young-guns to reach the maiden Wimbledon quarters.

The two youngest players left in the men’s draw gave a glimpse of the future with some breathtaking shotmaking that earned them a standing ovation from 15,000 hollering fans.

However, during the first two sets there was little indication of the spellbinding drama that would end up unfolding on Centre Court.

The highly-rated Alcaraz, who has won a Tour-leading four titles this year, was sucked into a Sinner whirlwind as he lost seven games in a row from 1-1 in the first set.

The 19-year-old Spaniard recovered from that setback to deny Sinner two match points in the third-set tiebreak before three more went begging with Alcaraz serving at 5-2 down in the fourth. But Sinner withstood the barrage of belting winners to finally book his place in the last eight at his sixth attempt when Alcaraz rolled a forehand into the net.

“Carlos is a very tough opponent and a very nice person so it’s always a huge pleasure to play him with such a great crowd and on a special day with 100 years of Centre Court — it’s just amazing,” said Sinner.

“It’s tough when you have match point and you still have to play — I tried my best, it’s part of the game, part of tennis.

“I’m very happy how I reacted in the beginning of the fourth because I was struggling but I’m very happy to be in the next round and hopefully I can play some good tennis there.”

Published in Dawn, July 5th, 2022



https://www.dawn.com/news/1698269/kyrgios-shrugs-off-injury-to-reach-wimbledon-quarters
Lees gives England flying start in record chase at Edgbaston

Lees gives England flying start in record chase at Edgbaston

05/07/2022, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 30765766

BIRMINGHAM: Alex Lees’ quickfire unbeaten fifty ensured England made a rapid start to their run chase in the delayed fifth Test against India at Edgbaston on Monday.

England were 107-1 in their second innings at tea on the fourth day, needing a further 271 runs to reach a target of 378.

Lees was 56 not out, having shared an exhilarating opening stand of 107 with Zak Crawley in a match England must win to end this five-Test series all square at 2-2.

But the pair, together for fewer than 22 overs, were separated just before the interval when Crawley shouldered arms to a brilliant off-cutter from India stand-in captain Jasprit Bumrah.

Crawley, who has been struggling for runs, had looked in fine touch while hitting seven fours in his 46.

There have been only two successful fourth-innings chases above 200 in a Test at Edgbaston, with South Africa making 283-5 in 2008 and England 211-3 against New Zealand in 1999.

England, however, reached seemingly stiff targets of 277, 299 and 296 during a recent 3-0 whitewash of Test world champions New Zealand.

Both Cheteshwar Pujara (66) and Rishabh Pant (57) threatened to take India to an impregnable total but each got out when well set, with the tourists losing their last six wickets for 55 runs as they were bowled out for 245.

Lees and Zak Crawley set about the chase with relish.

Left-hander Lees off-drove Mohammed Shami for four, with Crawley whipping Bumrah off his pads for another boundary.

Lees then expertly uppercut third seamer Mohammad Siraj for four and greeted Ravindra Jadeja’s first ball of the day by going down the pitch to drive the left-arm spinner to the boundary.

A forcing shot off Siraj took Lees to a 44-ball fifty with his eighth boundary. As he walked off at tea, Lees was involved in an animated conversation with former India captain Virat Kohli, who’d already been spoken to this match by the umpires after exchanging words with England first-innings century-maker Jonny Bairstow.

India resumed on their overnight 125-3, with Pujara 50 not out and Pant — who made 146 in a first-innings total of 416 — unbeaten on 30.

Pujara had only been recalled to the top of the order after India captain Rohit Sharma and fellow opener KL Rahul were ruled out by Covid-19 and a groin injury respectively.

He looked in fine touch Monday, forcing England great James Anderson off the back foot through point and clipping him off his pads for two well-struck fours.

But the 34-year-old’s four-hour innings ended when he cut Stuart Broad straight to Lees at backward point.

A clearly frustrated Pujara walked off, having now gone 50 innings since his last Test century — 193 against Australia at Sydney in January 2019.

Pant was dropped on 45 when Crawley failed to hold a tough chance diving to his left at second slip before a leg-glanced four off Broad, his seventh boundary in 76 balls, took him to his fifty.

But Pant fell when a miscued reverse sweep off left-arm spinner Jack Leach was caught by Joe Root at slip, with England captain Ben Stokes mopping up the tail on his way to 4-33 in 11.5 overs.

At the close of play on the third day, India had tightened their grip on the Test against England, with an overall lead of 257 and with seven wickets in hand, despite Bairstow’s belligerent hundred.

Anderson removed Shubman Gill in the first over and Broad got rid of Hanuma Vihari but Pujara dug in his heels to frustrate England when India came out to bat.

Kohli (20) unfurled some silken drives before being done in by the extra bounce generated by Stokes.

Billings had spilled the catch but an alert Root grabbed the ball before it could hit the ground.

Pant, whose rapid 146 put India in the box seat, was more restrained in the second innings.

India are 2-1 up in the series which could not be completed last year following Covid-19 cases in the India camp ahead of the final match at Old Trafford.

Scoreboard

INDIA (2nd Innings, overnight 125-3): S. Gill c Crawley b Anderson 4 C. Pujara c Lees b Broad 66 H. Vihari c Bairstow b Broad 11 V. Kohli c Root b Stokes 20 R. Pant c Root b Leach 57 S. Iyer c Anderson b Potts 19 R. Jadeja b Stokes 23 S. Thakur c Crawley b Potts 4 M. Shami c Lees b Stokes 13 J. Bumrah c Crawley b Stokes 7 M. Siraj not out 2 EXTRAS (B-6, LB-7, NB-3, W-3) 19 TOTAL (all out, 81.5 overs) 245 FALL OF WICKETS: 1-4 (Gill), 2-43 (Vihari), 3-75 (Kohli), 4-153 (Pujara), 5-190 (Iyer), 6-198 (Pant), 7-207 (Thakur), 8-230 (Shami), 9-236 (Jadeja) BOWLING: Anderson 19-5-46-1 (1nb), Broad 16-1-58-2 (1nb), Potts 17-3-50-2 (1w), Leach 12-1-28-1, Stokes 11.5-0-33-4 (1nb, 1w), Root 6-1-17-0 (1w)

ENGLAND (2nd Innings): Alex Lees not out 56 Zak Crawley b Bumrah 46 Ollie Pope not out 0 EXTRAS (LB-4, NB-1) 5 TOTAL (for one wicket, 23 overs) 107 STILL TO BAT: J. Root, J. Bairstow, B. Stokes, S. Billings, M. Potts, S. Broad, J. Leach, J. Anderson FALL OF WICKET: 1-107 (Crawley) BOWLING: Bumrah 5-0-23-1 (1nb), Shami 6-2-21-0, Jadeja 4-0-18-0, Siraj 5-0-26-0, Thakur 3-0-15-0

Published in Dawn, July 5th, 2022



https://www.dawn.com/news/1698270/lees-gives-england-flying-start-in-record-chase-at-edgbaston
Ronaldo misses Man United training for ‘family reasons’

Ronaldo misses Man United training for ‘family reasons’

05/07/2022, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 30765765

LONDON: Cristiano Ronaldo missed training with Manchester United on Monday due to “family reasons”, just days after the Portugal star reportedly told the club he wants to leave.

United players who had been away on international duty over the close-season were scheduled to meet up with the rest of the squad on Monday.

But, according to British media reports, Ronaldo did not attend, with his reason for failing to appear at United’s training ground accepted by the club.

However, the 37-year-old’s absence will be interpreted as the latest salvo in his bid to engineer a move away from Old Trafford.

Ronaldo is said to be disappointed by United’s decline since he returned to the club from Juventus last year.

United failed to qualify for this coming season’s Champions League after finishing sixth in the Premier League.

Despite the arrival of new manager Erik ten Hag from Ajax, Ronaldo reportedly does not believe United can challenge for major honours in the near future.

In the twilight of his career, Ronaldo would prefer to join a club capable of satisfying his desire to compete for the game’s top prizes.

Five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo, who has a year left on his United contract, has played 19 consecutive seasons in the Champions League and is the tournament’s all-time leading scorer.

The former Real Madrid star’s agent Jorge Mendes has reportedly sounded out Bayern Munich and Chelsea about a potential move, yet United are said to be adamant Ronaldo is not for sale.

Ronaldo was United’s top scorer with 24 goals last term, but his campaign was marred by public shows of frustration on several occasions as the team struggled under first Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and then interim boss Ralf Rangnick.

Ronaldo’s absence from training comes as United are due to leave for their pre-season tour of Asia and Australia on Friday.

Published in Dawn, July 5th, 2022



https://www.dawn.com/news/1698259/ronaldo-misses-man-united-training-for-family-reasons
PCB gave me bulletproof vehicle due to security reasons: Ramiz

PCB gave me bulletproof vehicle due to security reasons: Ramiz

05/07/2022, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 30765764

ISLAMABAD: In an unusual statement, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ramiz Raja on Monday disclosed that he had received life threats from inside as well as outside the country.

While briefing the National Assembly Standing Committee on Inter-provincial Coordination (IPC) which met here at Parliament House, Ramiz said because of the life threats a bulletproof vehicle had been arranged for him by the PCB.

After the committee meeting, when reporters asked Ramiz to explain the threats he had mentioned, the PCB chairman said he first received the threats during the Pakistan Super League (PSL).

“I received life threats from inside and outside [of Pakistan],” he said without sharing any details about those threats.

Ramiz along with other PCB officials were briefing the NA Standing Committee headed by MNA Nawab Sher on the performance of the Board.

The committee was told that the overall victory ratio of Pakistan team in recent international contests was 75 per cent which was better than India’s (68 per cent).

Ramiz told the committee that various steps were being taken to further improve the country’s cricket system, adding the PCB was planning to organise a junior T20 league in October this year and a women’s T20 league in February next year.

“In order to prepare the [national] team for this year’s T20 World Cup [in Australia], the PCB will bring in mud from Australia to prepare [fast and bouncy] pitches,” Ramiz told the committee meeting.

The committee also directed the PCB to present the audit report of the Board in the next meeting.

Talking about the Pakistan Super League, the PCB officials told the committee that the Board had earned Rs500 million from the last edition of PSL.

PHF PRESIDENT’S ABSENCE IRKS COMMITTEE

The NA committee was to get briefing also from the officials of the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) over the affairs of the federation.

However, PHF president retired Brig Khalid Sajjad Khokhar did not turn up leaving the committee members upset. They decided not to get briefing from PHF secretary Asif Bajwa and sought briefing from the PHF president in the next meeting.

Meanwhile, the committee also discussed the issue of Rangers, who are currently staying at Liaquat Gymnasium of the Pakistan Sports Complex.

It is believed that around 2,000 Rangers personnel have been staying in one of the hostels of the complex for the last month or so. The committee directed PSB director general retired Col Asif Zaman to take up the issue with the Interior Ministry, insisting sports facilities were meant for sports purposes only and not for accommodating the staff of law enforcement agencies.

The DG told the committee that he had already discussed the issue with the Interior Ministry, adding the matter would be taken up during the PSB’s meeting on coming Wednesday.

Published in Dawn, July 5th, 2022



https://www.dawn.com/news/1698267/pcb-gave-me-bulletproof-vehicle-due-to-security-reasons-ramiz
Pakistan have ability, experience to deliver in Sri Lanka: Babar

Pakistan have ability, experience to deliver in Sri Lanka: Babar

05/07/2022, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 30765763

LAHORE: Pakistan captain Babar Azam on Monday said his team had the capability and the experience to perform well in the forthcoming two-Test series in Sri Lanka.

“We possess a good spin attack and our fast bowlers have the ability to perform under different conditions while we also have the batters who hold the experience to perform in those conditions,” Babar said while addressing a press conference before leaving for Colombo via Dubai in the wee hours of Monday.

Fifth-placed Pakistan face Sri Lanka, seventh in the ICC Test team rankings, in a series starting in Galle From July 16-20. The second Test will be held in Colombo from July 24-28 at the R. Premadasa Stadium.

“Pakistan is touring Sri Lanka to play the Test matches after 2015 and we hope the players will give their best to earn maximum points,” said the 27-year-old Babar, who has played 40 Tests including 11 as captain.

As skipper, Babar has won two Tests each against South Africa, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh and one against the West Indies while losing one Test each to the West Indies and Australia.

“We are going with a fine spin attack that includes experienced [leg-spinner] Yasir Shah. Nauman Ali and Mohammad Nawaz are also good [slow left-arm orthodox] spinners, so this department which can play a key role in Sri Lankan is well prepared to deliver,” Babar, who will be playing his first Test in Sri Lanka, said.

“Similarly, our fast bowlers prepared well for the series during the training camp [held in Rawalpindi recently].”

Commenting on Yasir, the captain underlined the 36-year-old spinner’s main problem was fitness but added that he had done significant hard work to improve.

“During the training camp [in Rawalpindi] the team management gave him maximum opportunities to bowl and he remained impressive.”

To a question, Babar said keeping in view the Sri Lankan conditions the best team would be selected, adding if necessary opener Shan Masood could play as a middle-order batter.

“We will be going into the field with the best combination according to the prevailing situation and if it is deemed appropriate Shan can also play,” he said.

Southpaw Shan, who last played a Test match in January 2021 against New Zealand at Christchurch, has batted impressively for Derbyshire in the ongoing English County Championship.

Babar did not agree with the questioner that Pakistan needed a solid hitter at fifth spot saying wicket-keeper/batter Mohammad Rizwan, Nawaz and he himself were batting in the middle and all had the ability to play according to the demand, instead.

He emphasized that the weather in Sri Lanka was not in his control, but making best efforts was, adding the boys would give their best.

On two occasions at the presser, Babar was asked questions on India’s batting maestro Virat Kohli, a number of whose records in international cricket the former has broken. But Babar avoided going into the details.

When Babar was asked to comment how he considered playing alongside Kohli next year in Afro-Asian cricket planned by the Asian Cricket Council, the Pakistan skipper said his focus was currently on the Sri Lanka series. Answering yet another question on breaking Kohli’s records, Babar without mentioning the name of the Indian batter said he was concentrating only on performance.

Babar said former Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar visited the national training camp in Rawalpindi and gave some useful tips to the fast bowlers.

Published in Dawn, July 5th, 2022



https://www.dawn.com/news/1698271/pakistan-have-ability-experience-to-deliver-in-sri-lanka-babar
Skillful Lyon has more to offer, says Vettori

Skillful Lyon has more to offer, says Vettori

04/07/2022, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 30764758

GALLE: Australia’s assistant coach Daniel Vettori on Sunday said Nathan Lyon’s ability to combine spin with bounce makes him a lethal weapon on turning pitches — and for years to come.

The 34-year-old Lyon towered above the Sri Lankan spinners in the team’s thrashing of the hosts in the recent opening Test in Galle to return with match figures of 9-121.

The performance took Lyon into the top 10 leading wicket-takers of all time with 436 wickets in 109 Tests.

New Zealand spin great Vettori, who joined Australia’s support staff full-time ahead of the two-match series, said it was more about conversing with the off-spinner than coaching him.

“It’s a tactical conversation. Nathan has seen everything in world cricket. To be a finger spinner and be in the top 10 wicket-takers in the world is incredible,” Vettori told reporters.

“Albeit the majority of the time it is down to his skill level. The ability to be successful with that much turn and bounce.” Vettori said, “And then you see the development of that bowler, to read conditions, to add things to his armoury and a desire to just keep wanting to get better.

“He has a number of years left in him, so he can climb up that table even further.”

Lyon, along with fellow spinners Mitchell Swepson and Travis Head bundled out Sri Lanka twice for 212 and 113 to bring victory in just over two days and lead the series 1-0.

Australian batters also stepped up their game to counter the spin with an effective sweep shot as Cameron Green (77), Usman Khawaja (71) and wicketkeeper/batter Alex Carey (45) contributed to the team’s first innings total of 321.

Sri Lankan batters faltered on home turf and Vettori said using the sweep against Lyon will always be a challenge.

“Batters who sweep are always very difficult to bowl to. They ask different questions of you as a bowler,” said Vettori.

“That is where Nathan is so successful. He is consistent and he gets so much spin and bounce that we all know they sweep is a good option but it is a challenge against someone of his quality.”

Lyon, who struggled in Australia’s 3-0 whitewash in Sri Lanka in 2016 when home spinner Rangana Herath bagged 28 wickets, has become a force to reckon in sub-continent conditions over the years.

Vettori, who took 362 Test wickets as a left-arm spinner in his 18-year-old glittering international career as a player and captain, said Lyon is always looking to improve.

“His stock ball is so amazing, sometimes for him that is good enough,” said the 43-year-old Vettori.

“But for his development, he is looking to bring variations in. Different balls, over and around the wicket. He is very receptive to all information.”

The second and final match starts Friday at the same venue.

Published in Dawn, July 4th, 2022



https://www.dawn.com/news/1698022/skillful-lyon-has-more-to-offer-says-vettori
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