Lyon expects Indian fightback in Boxing Day Test

 

Jasprit Bumrah bowls during a training session in Melbourne on Wednesday. (BCCI Twitter)
Jasprit Bumrah bowls during a training session in Melbourne on Wednesday. (BCCI Twitter)

Melbourne - Lyon was confident India would remain competitive without skipper Virat Kohli, who returned home after the opening Test for the birth of his first child

By Reuters

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Published: Wed 23 Dec 2020, 8:41 PM

Australian off-spinner Nathan Lyon expects India to “come out firing” after posting their lowest-ever score in the opening Test, predicting the visiting batsmen will attack his bowling in Melbourne.

Lyon said the paltry 36 runs India scored in the second innings in Adelaide last Saturday was no reflection on the quality of the touring side, recalling that he was part of an Australian team bowled out for 47 in South Africa in 2011.


Australia bounced back from that humiliation to win their next Test against the Proteas and Lyon said India would be looking for a similar response in the second Test that begins at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Boxing Day.

“I don’t think it will be that difficult when you look at the quality of the Indian side, they’ve got some absolutely world-class players through the whole squad,” he said.


“It was one of those days where nothing goes right for them and everything goes right for us — we’ve all had them, it’s part of the game. “But no doubt they’re training the house down now. We’re expecting them to come out firing and not have any scars from the other day.”

Lyon was confident India would remain competitive without skipper Virat Kohli, who returned home after the opening Test for the birth of his first child.

“I think there are enough guys in the Indian squad who can fill Virat’s shoes,” he said.

The veteran spinner, who has taken 391 Test wickets, said India was likely to target slow bowling in Melbourne. “It think it’ll be one of the tactics to come after me, which is totally fine, I’m pretty used to it,” he said.

“For me it’s all fun and part of playing Test cricket. Being a spin bowler, you’re always going to have guys trying to attack you, it’s all a great challenge to be honest.”

Meanwhile, Ishant Sharma said Ajinkya Rahane is a “bowler’s captain” whose calm leadership will come in handy in India’s bid to bounce back in the four-Test series. Unlike an often-animated Kohli, Rahane maintains a low profile on the field and the bowlers are likely to be consulted more in the last three Tests under him, said Ishant.

“He’s very confident and I must say he’s a bowler’s captain,” the right-arm bowler, who missed the tour with a side strain injury, told the ESPNcricinfo website.

“We’ve played so many times together. Whenever Virat was not there, he’d ask me ‘What kind of field you want? When you want to bowl? Do you want to go on (bowling)?’ “He’s a bowler’s captain. He’s not someone who’d say ‘do this or do that’.”

The 32-year-old quick said Rahane, who led India to Test victories against Australia and Afghanistan in the past, often acts as a conduit between the bowlers and Kohli.

While it was nearly impossible to match Kohli’s energy on the field, Rahane’s composed presence could help India during pressure situations, Ishant said.

“If there’s a partnership growing and it’s a flat phase when fielders are just going through their motions, one player’s energy level can change the scenario,” he said. “The kind of energy Virat brings to the table ... not everyone can match that.

“Jinx (Rahane) spreads calm energy in a pressure situation. There won’t be any tension, he’d communicate with the bowlers very well.”

The second Test is scheduled in Melbourne from Dec. 26 followed by matches in Sydney and Brisbane.



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