Nathan Lyon
Nathan Lyon (AFP Photo)

Offspinner Nathan Lyon put up a strong performance on the opening day of Australia‘s four-day practice match against Pakistan A at the ICC Academy in Dubai on Saturday. He ended the day with a five-wicket haul as Pakistan finished on 247/6.

Lyon said he wasn’t expecting much help from the track but enjoyed bowling on it having worked on his game watching how India offspinner Ravichandran Ashwin and others bowl in subcontinent conditions.

“I didn’t expect it to spin that much, but Day 1, it was ragging. It was good fun to bowl,” Lyon said after the end of day’s play. “Taking five wickets obviously helps but I think I’ve really worked hard for the past 24 months or a little bit more than that, really on my subcontinent game. I’ve looked at a lot of footage of Ashwin and all those guys, how they bowl over here and I’ve had to reassess with the way I approach. I’m happy with where I am at the moment, I’m feeling very confident, the ball is coming out of my hand really nice.”

Lyon said sticking to the basics was the key to the performance and that’s how the their approach is going to be during the two-Test series that starts from October 7.

“Good conversations, open conversations which are handy. We really tried to nail down the basics, doing the basics really well and just trying to keep it simple, to be honest. A lot of guys can come over here and complicate things in the subcontinent. From my past experiences, that’s one big message – doing the basics really well, enjoy the challenge and just embrace it. But it’s going to come down to bowling well in partnerships throughout this Test series,” the 30-year-old said.

The last time Australia faced Pakistan in the UAE, back in 2014, they suffered a 0-2 defeat in the two-Test series. Lyon endured a miserable performance managing three wickets at an average of 140.66 across the two matches.

However, it’s been four years since that and Lyon is confident and with more experience of Asian conditions under his belt, he hopes to come good this time around.

“I’ve had four years. I’ve had plenty of time to think about it. I had a really good chat with Younis Khan after that series, actually. He said ‘the only reason I sweep is because I don’t trust my defence, so sweeping your best balls’. Usually when you get swept, it’s the best ball you bowl that’s getting swept. So I find that a bit weird compliment – that you’re bowling well to be kept getting swept. It can be annoying but it provides another challenge. As I said, I just was to keep challenging myself to get better and better. If those guys want to sweep then I know I’m a different bowler from four years ago. More confident than I was four years ago, as well. Hopefully, the experience I’ve had in the last couple of Asian tours put me in good stead,” he said.