Lyon hopes Australia can end careers of England players

Lyon hopes Australia can end careers of England players

Australian off-spinner Nathan Lyon raised the pre-Ashes verbals to new levels on Tuesday (November 21) by claiming that his side wanted to end the Test careers of some of England’s players. Lyon was part of the victorious Australian team in 2013/14 which whitewashed England 5-0 with Mitchell Johnson, bowling as quickly as some observers had ever seen in Test cricket, the destroyer with 37 wickets in all. Lyon hopes that Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc, two bowlers capable of reaching similar speeds as Johnson, can replicate that performance this time around.
“Seeing Mitchell Johnson scare all the Poms was unbelievable,” Lyon said. “Leading into Perth [in 2013] we knew that they were broken. We knew Matt Prior wanted to fly home before the game started and he was one of the senior players. He was scared. I was at leg slip and I nearly had to push a couple of the guys back towards the stumps. It was good fun.”
It is interesting that Lyon is still harking back to the last tour in Australia. It has been a feature of the build-up to this series that the home side have been keen to try and open up the wounds from 2013/14 and remind England that they failed to deal with the pace and aggression of Johnson and co. Indeed, Joe Root admitted the hostility at the Gabba in 2013 had surprised him and this time around, Australia are sure to employ similar tactics.
In response, Prior strenuously denied Lyon’s claims. “If that was the case and I was scared, why didn’t I go home then?” Prior said. “I have no idea where this has come from. It’s completely ridiculous and all I can do is laugh. It is wholeheartedly untrue. I stayed out there and what hurt me more was that I was dropped for the last two Tests because I wasn’t playing well. I hope the first Test goes well for Nathan. I will be watching with interest to see how he goes. He has other things to worry about rather than thinking about me. I hope he lets his cricket do the talking now.”
Lyon ranks Australia’s pace trio of Cummins, Starc and Josh Hazlewood – a bowler he reckons is the best in the world right now – as quicker than the one which ravaged England four years ago. “They are class bowlers,” he said. “In the nets, they are definitely quicker. I saw Steve Smith land on his backside the other day and Johnson didn’t do that. I’m not getting in the nets to face them because they are bowling way too quick for my liking,”
Of the three, Josh Hazlewood has the best Test record with 118 wickets in 31 matches at an average of 25.75. “He can swing the new ball in and out, he can seam it, he can bowl fast, he can bowl a nice bouncer, he can reverse an old ball,” Lyon said of his New South Wales teammate. “His consistency and the way he controls the game is incredible. In my book he’s the No 1 bowler in the world.”
As well as describing England’s players as scared during the last Ashes tour down under, Lyon also drew other parallels with that series and what he hopes can happen this time. Graeme Swann and Kevin Pietersen never played for England again after that series and Prior only played another four Tests. Ending the careers of some England players is something which Australia, according to their off-spinner, will be looking to do again.
“Root got dropped last time [in Sydney] when he was here, so it’d be good to get him dropped again, wouldn’t it?” Lyon said. “There’s a lot of scars for the English guys, especially coming over here, especially when we have two guys bowling 150km/h, not just one now. Could we end some careers? I hope so.”