A ‘massive honour’ to be Australia’s fourth most successful Test bowler: Nathan Lyon
Nathan Lyon has 314 wickets in his 80th Test. @Getty

The offspinner Nathan Lyon was understandably elated at having surpassed Brett Lee and Mitchell Johnson to slot into fourth place on Australia’s all-time Test wicket-taker’s table, and termed the achievement as a “massive honour”.

On day one of the Abu Dhabi Test versus Pakistan, Lyon triggered a dramatic pre-lunch collapse with four wickets in six balls to move to 314 career wickets in his 80th game, behind only Shane Warne (708), Glenn McGrath (563) and Dennis Lillee (355).

“I’ve never been one for personal success and personal goals, or at least talking about them, but it’s a massive honour to pass the likes of Brett Lee and Mitchell Johnson today,” he said on Tuesday.  “I have played a lot of cricket with Mitch and he’s been like a big brother to me so I know there will be a bit of banter back and forth tonight and a few text messages – I look forward to that.

“I’ve been very fortunate enough to play 80 Test matches for Australia and to be in this position to take 314 wickets, personally it’s a great achievement and it’s something I will look back when I retire from the game and sit back with family and friends and have a beer and talk about it. I know my mum and dad will be pretty proud.”

A month shy of turning 31, Lyon is already Australia’s most successful finger spinner in Test history and given the amount of Test cricket Australia have lined up over the next year, looks in line to surpass Lillee and settle in behind Warne and McGrath. After the ongoing Abu Dhabi Test, Australia host India for four Tests and then Sri Lanka for two more in January-February, followed by five Tests in England next summer.

Asked as to how far he sees himself going, Lyon said: “I would not have a clue. I’m definitely not preparing the retirement speech.”

“I think I can get better,” he added. “I need to get better. I need my game to keep adapting and keep improving. I want to be the best version of myself. Over the last 24 months I think I’ve improved a lot in different small areas. I’m very confident with the way the ball is coming out of my hand and I’ll leave it at that. I don’t want to give too many secrets away.”