Three Australian spinners for Pakistan Tests in UAE a real possibility: Nathan Lyon
Nathan Lyon believes that three spinners in the UAE is distinct possibility. @AFP

Nathan Lyon believes that Australia face the distinct possibility of fielding three spinners in next month’s Test series versus Pakistan in the UAE as it attempts to end a winless series streak in Asia dating back to 2011.

Reflecting on Australia’s previous Test series in the UAE four years ago, which Pakistan won 2-0, Lyon felt the conditions, as tough as they would be, merited the chance of three spinners.

“If it’s going to be a Pune wicket, why wouldn’t you play three spinners?” he told cricket.com.au. “But going off the last tour here, they were pretty flat, they were hard work. Definitely, we have to be open (to three spinners) over here. It’s hard to say until you see the conditions we’ll be faced with.”

Australia’s squad for the two Tests include slow-bowling options in Lyon, the country’s most successful finger spinner, to go with the left-arm pair of Ashton Agar and Jon Holland. From the pool of batsman, the uncapped Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne offer back-up spin options.

“The two guys, in my eyes, vying for the batting five and batting six (spots), Marnus and Travis Head, they both offer us a spin component as well,” said Lyon. “We’re going to have minimum three spinners in the side no matter what anyway and whether they want to go with the three frontline spinners, that’s totally up to ‘Cracker’ (chief selectorTrevor Hohns) and ‘JL’ (coach Justin Langer) and (Tim Paine.”

Holland, the 31-year-old left-arm spinner, toured South Africa earlier this year but did not get a chance to add to his two Test caps from the tour of Sri Lanka in 2016 – where Australia were beaten 0-3.

“I’m a big fan of Jon Holland’s,” said Lyon. “He’s done extremely well in the (Sheffield) Shield back home over the last few years, he’s a very talented bowler. He spins up the back of the ball which I love, it’s my absolute mantra.

“We’re good mates as well. Our communication bowling out in the middle (during centre-wicket practice on Sunday) was brilliant. Hopefully we can really build that relationship here and take that out into the middle, that’s going to be a massive key for us … we’re going to get a lot of work over here.”

In 2014, when Australia last toured the UAE to face Pakistan, Lyon managed three wickets in 110 overs bowled across two Tests for an average of 140.66. As he prepares for the upcoming series, Lyon said he was a “better cricketer and person” and was prepared to get “ugly”.

For me it’s about bowling ugly over here. We will have to find a way to hit the stumps and that might be bowling the square or round-arm, whatever that may be,” he said. It has been a brilliant lead up here before the first Test. The four-day game here in a few days is going to be a great time for us to experiment and also see the way they are going to play us.”