Nathan Lyon has established himself as one of the premier offspinners in the modern era. In the current series against India, Lyon’s offspin has made the difference in Australia staying in the contest. His ability to dismiss the top batsmen in the Indian batting line-up has enhanced his reputation tremendously. In Perth, on a wicket where pacers were expected to dominate, it was Lyon’s five wickets in the first innings and three in the second that allowed Australia to come back into the contest with a thumping 146-run win after they had lost the Adelaide Test by 31 runs. In the Melbourne Test, Lyon wheeled away for 39 overs without a wicket but when he struck, he immediately created a record.
Lyon trapped Ajinkya Rahane plumb in front with a sharp offspinner that stayed low and the right-handed batsman fell for 34. However, this was the ninth time that Rahane had fallen to Lyon. In the process, two records were broken. Lyon’s nine dismissals is the most he has dismissed any player and it is the most one Australian player has dismissed an Indian batsmen in Tests. Before this, Lyon had dismissed Cheteshwar Pujara eight times in Tests while Ray Lindwall has dismissed Vinoo Mankad the same number of times.
Rahane first fell to Lyon on his Test debut in Delhi in 2013 when he was caught by Steve Smith for 7. In the 2014/15 series, the Mumbai batsman fell in both innings of the Adelaide Test and he was also dismissed in the Melbourne Test. In the 2017 series, Rahane was stumped in Bangalore and he was also sent packing in the final Test in Dharamsala. In the ongoing series, Rahane has been dismissed in all three Tests by Lyon. In Adelaide, he was out caught while trying to reverse sweep while in Perth, he edged a flighted delivery to first slip.
Apart from Pujara and Rahane, Lyon has also made a mark by dismissing Virat Kohli seven times, which is the most the Indian skipper has fallen to any bowler. The offspinner’s exploits in Perth also led to great praise from Sachin Tendulkar, considered the greatest batsman in cricket. Lyon’s dismissal of Rahane has given Australia some hope of staying alive in the Melbourne Test.