Nathan Lyon, born on November 20, 1987, is Australia s leading spinner in Test cricket. After the retirement of Shane Warne in 2007, Lyon is Australia s most successful spinner and is an important cog in the side. Nishad Pai Vaidya picks 10 facts you should know about Nathan Lyon.

1. Lyon was born in a small town of Young in New South Wales. He then settled in Canberra where he started playing cricket. He played all his age group cricket for the Australian Capital Territory.

2. In Canberra, Lyon was guided by Mark Higgs, a left-arm spinner in his days who was once picked for Australia as a replacement for Shane Warne.

3. Lyon was a part of the ground staff at the Adelaide Oval in 2010-11. He had completed a four-year long stint at the Manuka Oval in Canberra as a groundsman before he made his way to Adelaide.

4. Lyon is nicknamed Gazza. This is because an Aussie Rules Football player named Garry Lyon was called Gazza.

5. In 2011, Lyon was called up to the Australian Test squad for the tour to Sri Lanka. He was picked after he had played only four First-Class matches.

6. Lyon became the 17th bowler in the history of Test cricket to take a wicket off his first ball in the format. Only Intikhab Alam, Maurice Tate and Lyon have taken over 100 Test wickets from this elite club. Shaminda Eranga and Dane Piedt have done it after Lyon and are still active.

7. During Ricky Ponting s final Test at the WACA, Perth, Lyon was sent in as a night watchman at Ponting s slated No 4 spot on Day One. The entire crowd got up in the belief that it was Ponting. Even Ponting s wife, Rianna, was up on her feet to applaud the incoming batsman. It was only when Lyon was almost half-way through to the wicket, did the crowd realise that it wasn t Ponting.

8. Since the retirement of Shane Warne in 2007, Lyon is the only specialist Australian spinner to have taken over 100 Test wickets.

9. Lyon has two daughters, Harper and Milla Ellen, with his partner Mel. His younger daughter, Milla, was born during the recent tour to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Lyon couldn t be there and watched her birth via Skype.

10. During the Ashes 2013-14, Lyon was not dismissed during his six innings in the five-match Test series. It is a remarkable statistic for someone who normally bats at No 11.

11. Lyon has played club cricket in Adelaide with England batsman Joe Root. Both of them played for the Prospect club much before they made their respective international debuts.

12. Lyon is the most successful off-spinner from Australia. Before him, Hugh Trumble was the most successful off-spinner from Australia with 141 Test wickets, while Lyon currently has 213 wickets to his name.

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_45)