Two years back, Ashwin and Nathan Lyon were battling for who becomes the first among the two to reach the milestone of 400 Test wickets. The two off-spinners have long been compared with each other in the red-ball format. It was the Indian who had nudged ahead in the race and then went on to break into the top-10 wicket-taker’s list. Lyon, on the other hand, struggled to find form with many even questioning his place in the team. But not only did he prove his doubters wrong, he bounced back in style to find a spot among the top-10 wicket-takers before shattering Ashwin’s record with a match-winning show against West Indies.
One of the biggest criticism against Lyon was his effectiveness in the fourth innings of a Test. But since 2019, no bowler has picked as many wickets in the fourth innings as Lyon, with his match-winning 6 for 128 on Sunday adding to the list. It was his fourth fourth-innings five-wicket haul during the period.
With the performance, Lyon pipped Ashwin to become the eighth-highest wicket-taker in Test history. His tally now reads, 446 wickets, two more than Ashwin, in 111 Tests at 31.91. Overall, he remains the third-highest Test wicket-taker from Australia, after Shane Warne (708) and Glenn McGrath (563) and is the fourth-highest among spinners after Muttiah Muralidharan (800), Warne, and Kumble (619).
This was Lyon’s 21st five-wicket haul in Test cricket and 12th away from home, which levelled him alongside India legend Kapil Dev, which is the joint tenth-highest in Test history.
“I think he’s got plenty of different tricks now,” Australia captain Pat Cummins, who suffered a quad injury, told reporters after the 164-run win. “He’s obviously always had a really good off-spinner but the way he moves around the crease – you saw him bowl over the wicket, around the wicket a lot.
“Felt like he could beat him on the outside of the bat or he could bring bat-pad into play. He just feels like he’s got a few different ways he can get a batter out and he’s happy chopping and changing between them, perhaps more than early on in his career. ne thing he’s always been good at, but continues to get better and better, is he can bowl 25-30 quality overs in a day and there aren’t many bowlers in the world that can do that.”