Lyon King crowns imposing victory with 500th (and 501st) Test wicket

Save articles for later

Add articles to your saved list and come back to them any time.

It took modern technology to award Nathan Lyon his 500th wicket after long minutes of tension as Australia trounced Pakistan by 360 runs in the first Test on a difficult Perth Stadium pitch.

Pakistan were bowled out for just 89 in 30.1 overs on day four as Australia followed their World Cup triumph by going 1-0 up in the three-Test series.

The disappointing crowd of 9244 hidden in the 60,000 seat stadium clapped and cheered every Lyon delivery, but it wasn’t until Pakistan had already lost six wickets that the moment finally arrived.

Even then, it took a review by captain Pat Cummins to overturn a not out lbw decision against Faheem Ashraf by umpire Richard Illingworth which finally sparked the celebrations. And after three days of striving for the four wickets he needed for the remarkable milestone, Lyon claimed two wickets in one over when he bowled Aamer Jamal.

He began this Test on 496 wickets and was Australia’s leading wicket-taker in the first innings with 3/66, needing only one more to become just the eighth player in Test history, and third Australian behind Shane Warne (708) and Glenn McGrath (563), to reach 500.

Lyon is a greatly underestimated member of Australia’s attack, which was highlighted during the Ashes when he suffered a serious calf injury during the second Test and missed the remainder of the series. Despite missing the last three Tests he has claimed 41 wickets at an average of 25 in nine Tests this year, to make him the leading bowler in the world for 2023.

Nathan Lyon’s Australian teammates salute the spinner after his 500th Test scalp.Credit: Getty

On a pitch with widening cracks which made the ball dart around and bounce at uneven heights, Pakistan’s batsmen were all at sea.

However much Mitchell Starc may have struggled with the second new ball on Saturday as he attempted to find his feet on the drop-in pitch, he was brilliant opening the bowling during Pakistan’s second innings on Sunday.

On song from the first delivery, Starc curled the last of his first over into Abdullah Shafique only for it to zip off the pitch and shave the outside edge on the way through to Alex Carey.

Pakistan captain Shan Masood highlighted why he has a Test average of just 28. Installed after a typically shambolic Pakistan reaction to a poor World Cup campaign, when there were mass sackings including captain Babar Azam, Masood’s attacking tendencies are proving better than his technique.

Australia stormed to a 360-run win inside four days after setting Pakistan 450 to win.Credit: Getty

Wafting at deliveries from the metronomic Josh Hazlewood, Masood eventually nicked one that left him to be caught behind for two.

Starc continued his rampage by removing first-innings stonewall Imam-ul-Haq for 10 with a delivery that darted back and trapped him leg before wicket.

The big left-armer’s third wicket came shortly after tea as wicketkeeper Sarfaraz Ahmed (4) failed again. Pushing at a delivery from Starc which bounced unexpectedly, he edged to Mitch Marsh in the gully who claimed a comfortable catch.

For the third day in a row Marsh gave the smattering of loyal Perth fans who turned up to the Test something to cheer about.

Mitch Marsh made an unbeaten 63 in front of his home crowd.Credit: Getty

He was unbeaten on 63 from just 68 balls with seven fours and two sixes when Usman Khawaja holed out for 90, slicing Shaheen Shah Afridi to be caught at deep third man chasing quick runs. Cummins declared, sparing he and his fellow bowlers the need to bat on the cracked and increasingly dangerous pitch.

Marsh’s typically bold innings included the need to replace his helmet twice after being hit on the side of the helmet and then side of the grill attempting hook shots.

On Friday, the second day, Marsh made 90 at almost a run a ball, costing himself a century in front of his former Test playing father Geoff and brother Shaun, among others, with an ambitious drive first ball after lunch to be bowled.

And on Saturday he bowled what may well have been the ball of the innings, darting it away off the seam to have Pakistan’s best player, Babar Azam, caught behind for 21.

Marsh topped the Ashes averages with 50 after being recalled for the last three Tests and is now averaging 67 in his latest incarnation as a Test player.

Sports news, results and expert commentary. Sign up for our Sport newsletter.

Most Viewed in Sport

From our partners

Source: Read Full Article