Two days ago, Test skipper Tim Paine implored curators around Australia to retain the unique characteristics of the nation’s wickets after India spun their way to victory against England on a dust bowl in Chennai.
Right on cue, the SCG wicket played like the raging turner it used to be as Test tweaker Nathan Lyon put Victoria to the sword with a spinning masterclass for NSW.
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With balls turning and bouncing, Lyon snared 6/21, his best ever figures in Sheffield Shield cricket.
It was a far cry from his 2/201 in the third Test when India salvaged a draw on a wicket that didn’t do as it should.
Nathan Lyon of the Blues.Source:Getty Images
Lyon’s haul came after Victorian spinner Jon Holland took 3/38 in a match evenly poised as the visitors were all out for 200, a lead of just 35 after losing 8/48 in a collapse brought on by the offerings of the pitch.
NSW was 1/22 at stumps, still 13 runs in arrears, with Lyon sent in as nightwatchman.
But for all Lyon’s good work, question marks remain over Test quick Mitch Starc, who looked a shadow of the bowler he has been.
The left-armer conceded 44 off his first six overs, 65 off his first 11 and finished with 0/71 from 14 overs. The rest of the NSW attack combined for 10/123 from 67 overs.
In his 14 overs, Trent Copeland took 1/17, which put Starc’s wild effort in perspective.
Starc also went wicketless in the final two innings of the third and fourth Tests against India, the final one at the Gabba where the tourists scored a famous, fighting victory.
Former Test batsman Nic Maddinson did the most harm to Starc.
Maddison smacked 32 runs off 19 balls against Starc, including a mammoth six off the second ball of day two in Sydney, before he holed out the first ball back from a second rain delay.
First ball after the rain delay and Nic Maddinson is out for 77 (80 balls).
We're 2-112 with Peter Handscomb (7no) and Matt Short (2no) at the crease.
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Maddinson fell 23 runs short of a century at the SCG — his knock of 77 spanned 80 balls and just 116 minutes, much of which was full of thrilling strokes.
Since joining Victoria, Maddinson scored 1508 first-class runs at a phenomenal average of 79.36, including five centuries in 15 Shield matches.
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