As Australia – not for the first time – made hard work of sealing a Test match they had always looked like winning, Victoria’s Sheffield Shield team celebrated their first win of the season against a hapless New South Wales.

This was significant as much for the speed of that game’s conclusion as it was for the outcome in favour of Peter Handscomb’s team.

Nathan Lyon’s 6-128 arrived at the start of a critical nine months for him and the team.Credit:Getty

That’s because the young Victorian off-spinner Todd Murphy had another major impact on the course of a match, this time plucking 4-42 for figures of 7-86. It was another reminder that he is not only highly skilful but increasingly adept at the mental challenge of dominating the final innings of a game.

While no one can yet question the pre-eminence of Nathan Lyon as Australia No. 1 spin bowler, especially after he finished with 6-128, there was an undoubted sense of recurring inconvenience how the hosts made hard work of a fourth innings mop-up operation.

The task had undoubtedly been made harder, as it was during the Adelaide Ashes Test a year ago, by the absence of captain Pat Cummins from the bowling crease, this time as he nursed a sore quad, something very evident whenever he tried to chase a ball from mid-on.

In assessing an Australian Test side with four bowlers to have claimed over 200 wickets, and four senior batters with averages over 45, there is a question mark over how those prolific individual returns have not always added up to Test match and series victories.

The pattern, such as it is, relates to closing out matches in which four or five days’ hard graft and strong points advantage ultimately come to nothing. Looking back over the past decade, essentially from the time that the more senior of these players began their international careers, and there are lots of examples.

Nathan Lyon and Pat Cummins celebrate.Credit:Getty Images

In Adelaide in 2012, Faf du Plessis got South Africa out of jail, before the Proteas nearly wriggled similarly free in Cape Town two years later. Ben Stokes performed his miracle at Leeds in 2019, followed by another close call in Manchester.

QOSHE - Lyon’s turn to dominate more fourth innings - Daniel Brettig
We use cookies to provide some features and experiences in QOSHE

More information  .  Close
Aa Aa Aa
- A +

Lyon’s turn to dominate more fourth innings

8 0 0
04.12.2022

As Australia – not for the first time – made hard work of sealing a Test match they had always looked like winning, Victoria’s Sheffield Shield team celebrated their first win of the season against a hapless New South Wales.

This was significant as much for the speed of that game’s conclusion as it was for the outcome in favour of Peter Handscomb’s team.

Nathan Lyon’s 6-128 arrived at the start of a critical nine months for him and the team.Credit:Getty

That’s because the young Victorian off-spinner Todd Murphy had........

© The Sydney Morning Herald


Get it on Google Play