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A 500th ‘Nice Garry’ moment for Nathan Lyon in Australian Test shirt

Lyon

There wasn’t much talk about this news in India. You expect it, especially when India had a cakewalk in their series opening ODI game against South Africa on the same day. But it was such an auspicious feat by Nathan Lyon who got to his 500 Test wickets as an off spinner playing mostly in Australia, where tracks help the pacers.

That’s a huge feat, more than one could possibly sense. For someone who came from an outside-cricket background, Lyon has developed himself to a new level. It should be an inspiration for many young players, who could think of taking the game seriously in any shape, irrespective of the favorable condition.

A disciplined groundman to a fighting cricketer:

Nathan Lyon is a great bowler in my eyes. I just can’t remember a single day from my memory when I saw him bowling wayward, balls that won’t give you any prize for your hard work. He is so much disciplined throughout his career; it doesn’t come so often that someone gets to 500 Test scalps without bowling a no ball (31608 balls till now). He is someone who is high in energy, someone who is positive and cheeky most of the times.

It wasn’t long back ago before starting his career when he used to work as a groundman to prepare and take care of the pitch of the first-class grounds in Adelaide. He used to come as a net bowler to the local Australia players or the tourist side, whoever used to invite him for practice.

Picture- ©ESPNcricinfo/Twitter
The beginning of something special:

When Australia kept their feet in Sri Lanka back in 2011, they were down and out in the spinning department. The late great Shane Warne had retired from the game in 2007, and Australia brought an young spinner in the form of Michael Beer and a groundman from Adelaide. There wasn’t much experience on his shoulder, rather a bit of experience of playing in the Big Bash.

But it didn’t take too long for the wiry spinner to display what he aimed at that moment with the red cherry in hand. Kumar Sangakkara was nice enough to nick the ball off as Lyon roared for the very first time in Australia shirt.

Whenever one watches him bowl, one could sense his fight with himself all the times, There is a different type of thirst for him all the time to get in the wicket’s column.

Lyon’s Ponting moment in disguise:

I was one of those who became fool by that off spin delivery, bowled by Ricky Ponting and not Nathan Lyon, yeah you read it right. Ponting bowled that ball to make the whole ground fool in the form a delivery called ‘Nathan Lyon.’

Ponting was playing his farewell Test at the W.A.C.A in Perth and with a few minutes before the close of play, Australia lost a wicket and the next batter was Ponting. Sensing of what could be his last walk through the stair, the whole crowd stood on their feet, as was Ponting’s partner in the stand.

There came a batter from the Australia dressing room with a similar height of Ponting. The 11-year-old me was recording the incident, only when me and the whole crowd noticed Lyon looking at the sky to get his pupils right in touch. The camera found Ponting in the room as Lyon, just a year old in his Test career perhaps got his biggest ovation he wondered at that moment. But then came 2017.

The ‘Nice Garry’ delivery in MCG:

You wonder why is he called Garry, It’s his nick name, something that Matthew Wade has made famous from behind the stump. So, a famous social media post announced that the second ball of the first over of Nathan Lyon’s spell at the MCG Test in 2017 against Pakistan would be cheered as the ‘Nice Garry’ delivery.

There came the moment and one could sense his fear of what would happen if the ball would be smashed for a four and still the crowd cheered, that would be quite embarrassing.

There comes Lyon with the famous record ball. The ball spun a bit, bounced a little but was enough to take the outside edge of Sami Aslam to get into the hands of Steve Smith at the slip region. And the crowd went crazy with ‘Nice Garry’ cheer.

The huge occasion of 500th Test wicket as an Australian off spinner:

The occasion was as big as it could get. The week prior to the Test was such heavy for him keeping the weight of such feat in mind. Specially when he had to wait so much to go from 399 to 400 in a few summers back against India. With his calf injury in England a few months ago, he was eager to go.

A three-wicket haul in the first innings drove him to 499 going into the second innings. But Australia was too hot to handle for Pakistan as they were falling apart too fast before the pacers. Quite funny, but I actually delayed my shower to keep constant eye on Lyon’s overs. With a wicket left, you never know when does it come and you don’t want to miss it at all.

Picture-©ESPNcricinfo/Twitter

He kept it tight. A few inside edge or a few going here and there and finally it came. A gentle off spin ball, around the speed of 85 to 90, nailed Faheem Ashraf middle of his front pad. Lyon was down on his knees as was the rest of the 10 Australia players on the ground or as was the crowd with their raising voice or as was me in my room. The umpire remained unmoved.

Pat Cummins in a very gentle way took the review. Nothing on Hotspot one could see as the ball tracking arrived. ‘Impact in line and wickets hitting’ the voice and the picture arrived as Lyon and the whole Australia and of course me in a towel, cheered for his 500th wicket.

It was such a special occasion for an off-spinner, mostly playing the games in Australia. We praise Ravichandran Ashwin, which we should but I don’t understand the fear or anxiety behind not praising Lyon, who takes wicket at the Gabba on the first day even as a spinner. The monkey is finally off his back as he moves to the Boxing day Test.

Just the third Australia and eighth overall bowler to take 500 or more Test wickets. Another aim begins to go past Courtney Walsh and later Glen McGrath. He is too good to go past Walsh at the end of the summer and I am going to put my money on the prediction. For the McGrath chase, a few summers and Nathan ‘Nice Garry’ Lyon will be there.

That Mad Writer
Author: That Mad Writer

Someone who loves how Steve Smith from being Australia's future Shane Warne has become present Don Bradman, gets inspired by Anderson's longevity, gets awed with Kohli's drive and Southee's bowling action. Never gets excited with stats and records, and believes in instincts, and always questions spinners bowling with the new ball.

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