Milestone man Lyon spins Australia to thumping Ashes win

Australia's Nathan Lyon (second from rigth) celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of England's Dawid Malan, his 400th Test wicket, during day four of the first Ashes Test at the Gabba in Brisbane on Saturday. — AFP
Australia's Nathan Lyon (second from rigth) celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of England's Dawid Malan, his 400th Test wicket, during day four of the first Ashes Test at the Gabba in Brisbane on Saturday. — AFP

Brisbane - The spinner reaches 400 Test wickets as England slump to nine-wicket defeat

By Reuters

Published: Sat 11 Dec 2021, 2:47 PM

Nathan Lyon captured a long-awaited 400th Test victim and spun Australia to an emphatic nine-wicket victory in the first Ashes Test on Saturday, with England losing eight wickets in a stunning morning collapse on day four at the Gabba.

The spin-bowling cult hero grabbed four wickets as England’s batsmen crumbled by lunch, leaving 20 runs for Australia to mow down after the break.

Having dominated with bat, ball and in the field, Australia head to Adelaide for the day-night Test with a surge of confidence under new captain Pat Cummins.

England, meanwhile, will pore over their failings after another horror show in Brisbane. They have now lost seven of their past nine matches at the Gabba, a venue from which series defeats seem to spring.

Question marks hang over England’s selections and tactics, and there seem few ready solutions for their batting woes before the pink-ball Test starts in Adelaide on Thursday.

Cummins, in his first match as skipper, said he thought someone was smiling over him.

“A lot of things did go right, probably from the toss,” he added.

“I thought it was a really complete performance.

“I was really happy that just about everyone fired.”

England resumed on 220 for two with the match still within their grasp, but lost their last eight wickets for 77 runs to be bowled out for 297.

England paceman Ollie Robinson burnished his match stats with the dismissal of wicketkeeper Alex Carey (9), who stood in for opener David Warner as he nursed bruised ribs.

But Marcus Harris (nine not out) hit seamer Mark Wood to the fence to complete the rout.

England captain Joe Root was disappointed after he and Dawid Malan’s big day three partnership proved in vain.

However, the match was all but over after Root won the toss and sent his batsmen in to be routed for 147.

“Frustration,” he said. “We worked really hard to get ourselves back in the game last night. It’s a shame that we just couldn’t quite manage to get through that initial phase because it could have been very different.”


Lyon, who took 4-91 for the second innings, had been stranded on 399 wickets since the series-deciding defeat to India in January at the Gabba but wasted no time turning the contest on its head on Saturday.

In his second over, the 34-year-old veteran deceived Malan (82) and produced a bat-pad catch to Marnus Labuschagne, breaking a crucial 162-run stand with Root.

“It was incredible,” said Lyon. “Amazing crowd and to tick off a personal milestone is fantastic but even better to top it off with a pretty outstanding win.”

England promptly lost three wickets for 11 runs with young all-rounder Cameron Green capturing the key wicket of Root for 89, the England skipper yet again denied a maiden hundred in Australia.

Batsman Travis Head was named Man of the Match for his quickfire 152, which set up Australia’s first innings 425 in response to England’s paltry 147.

Carey, who replaced former captain Tim Paine behind the stumps, took a record eight catches on Test debut.

However, it was Lyon’s day to savour as he became only the third Australian in the 400-wicket club led by Shane Warne (708) and Glenn McGrath (563).

He had Ollie Pope caught for four at slip with a ball that reared out of the Gabba pitch. He took another two wickets to help clean up the tail.

England talisman Ben Stokes (14) combined with wicketkeeper Jos Buttler (23) for a 32-run partnership but the all-rounder fell to Cummins again, with a similar short ball to the one that got him for five in the first innings.

With Warner ailing and paceman Josh Hazlewood also nursing an abdominal strain, Australia will be glad for the extra day off.

English fans may hope salvation lies when Adelaide Oval lights up, and with the pink ball in the hands of rested pace warriors James Anderson and Stuart Broad. — Reuters

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