Nathan Lyon's seventh five-wicket haul put him level with Muttiah Muralitharan for most five-wicket hauls in Tests against India. (Image credit: ICC Twitter)
Nathan Lyon continued his magnificent form against India in Tests when he picked up his 14th five-wicket haul in the Perth game on Sunday. Lyon’s haul of 5/67 helped Australia take a crucial 43-run lead against India but Lyon entered the record books with his haul. The offspinner’s five-wicket haul was his seventh in Tests against India, which is the joint-most by any spin bowler in Tests against a side that used to have a reputation of being the ‘best players of spin’ in the world. Lyon’s seventh five-wicket haul put him level with Muttiah Muraliatharan, who is the leading wicket-taker in Tests with 800. The Australian offspinner’s achievement resulted in high praise from Sachin Tendulkar.
Writing on his official Twitter handle, Tendulkar heaped high praise on Lyon. “Australia have got a very special spinner in @NathLyon421. He has got terrific variations and uses the pace and bounce from the pitch to extract maximum value,” Tendulkar wrote. Reacting on Tendulkar’s tweet, Lyon said he was totally overwhelmed. “That's amazing to get something like that from Sachin Tendulkar. He's obviously one of the greatest of all time to ever play the game. So, to get recognised from him it's a massive honour,” Lyon said to the official Cricket Australia website.
Lyon has had plenty of memorable moments against India. His match haul of 12/286 in the Adelaide Test in 2014 helped Australia overcome centuries in both innings by Virat Kohli to help Australia win by 48 runs. Lyon’s haul is the second-best by a spinner against India, behind left-arm orthodox spinner Steve O’Keefe’s record of 12/70 in the Pune Test in 2017.
The Australian offspinner also has a tremendous record in dismissing India’s top batsmen. During the Adelaide Test, he dismissed Kohli for the sixth time, which is the most the current Indian skipper has fallen to a single bowler. He has also dismissed Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane eight times. Lyon’s career-best haul of 8/50 is also against India, which he achieved in the Bangalore Test in 2017.
Lyon will be determined to take yet another five-wicket haul and seal his place permanently in the record books. Guiding Australia to a series-leveling win will be the first priority.