Nathan Lyon's most cherished cricketing memory is of dismissing Sachin Tendulkar in Chennai Test in 2013. (File Photo) © Getty Images
Nathan Lyon’s most cherished cricketing memory is of dismissing Sachin Tendulkar in Chennai Test in 2013. (File Photo) © Getty Images

Nathan Lyon has emerged as Australia’s frontline spinner in recent years. Ever since Shane Warne retired, the team was in dire need of a quality spinner. And after auditioning many bowlers for the role, Australia persisted with Lyon, who did not disappoint the team management. Since then, the wiry off-spinner has become an integral part of the Test team and has delivered the goods time and again. In his 57-Test career so far, he has taken 211 wickets. Though not being considered for the limited-overs formats on a consistent basis, Lyon has done enough to establish his reputation as a quality spinner with the red ball.

It is natural of somebody who has played 50 odd Tests to have plenty of fond memories in his sporting career. For Lyon, the delivery, which foxed Indian batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar and bowled him in the Chennai Test in February 2013, happens to be the most cherished memory till date. He terms that delivery as “the best ball” of his Test career. The 28-year-old bowler had dismissed Tendulkar, bowled for 81 on February 24, 2013 on the third day of the first Test between India and Australia at Chennai’s MA Chidambaram Stadium. And Lyon does not seem to get over with it.

It was indeed a dream dismissal for any off-spinner, forcing the batsman to come forward and bowling through the gate. Lyon cherishes that delivery till date and calls it his “best” of 57-Test career so far. Recently, he spoke about that eventful Chennai day with former Australian leg-spinner Stuart MacGill in a video interview for his website (www.stuartmacgill.com). Lyon told MacGill how happy he was to silence the capacity Chennai crowd that day, which was backing the Indians with full vigour and dominating the Australians. Lyon also spoke about how it feels like playing in front of the boisterous Indian crowd.

“When Sachin Tendulkar comes out to bat in India, it is a different world. You cannot hear yourself. It is the loudest involvement I have ever been involved with. I remember, the over before that, I was quite happy with. I just felt that something would happen around the corner,” Lyon says in the video. He continues, “I kept telling myself, ‘be relaxed and be patient’. I was fortunate enough to throw out one in the rough and go through the gate. I felt like life stopped there for a moment. When I saw the bails go down and seeing Shane Watson, Michael Clarke, Matthew Wade’s reactions, I did not know what to do.

“There was lot of emotion on the cricket field. I did not know what to do. To silence the crowd like that was like pressing the mute button on TV. It was unbelievable and probably the best ball I have bowled in my Test career.” Lyon further recalls how after the day’s play his confidence had gone up after sending back the Indian legend. “My confidence has gone up a level rather than down, (after) bowling the best batsman in the world (Tendulkar) through the gate. As an off-spinner growing up, that’s what you dream of.”

Lyon took 4 wickets in that Test but India eventually won the match by 8 wickets. MS Dhoni-led India won the next 3 Tests in Hyderabad, Mohali and New Delhi to complete a historic 4-0 whitewash. Watch Lyon speak about his experience here: