…By Henry George for TDPel Media.
Australia’s hopes of retaining the Ashes have suffered a major blow as Nathan Lyon will not bowl for the remainder of the Second Test and is uncertain for the rest of the series.
Lyon sustained a “significant calf injury” while fielding on day two at Lord’s, and he had to be assisted by the Australian medical staff around the boundary.
This incident immediately brought back memories of Glenn McGrath’s ankle injury during the crucial Second Test at Edgbaston in 2005.
Lyon arrived at Lord’s on crutches the following morning, and although there is a slim possibility he may bat if absolutely necessary, it is highly unlikely that he will participate in the final three days of his 100th consecutive Test match.
Cricket Australia confirmed that Lyon will require a period of rehabilitation after the conclusion of the match, and a decision on his availability for the rest of the series will be postponed until afterward.
The Third Test at Headingley is scheduled to begin just three days after the conclusion of the Second Test.
Unless Lyon makes a miraculous recovery, it is probable that 22-year-old Todd Murphy will make his Ashes debut in the upcoming match.
Australia received a morale boost early in the morning session when Mitchell Starc dismissed England captain Ben Stokes with the help of an exceptional catch by Cameron Green at slip.
Harry Brook, who added five runs to his overnight score of 45, became the latest victim of Australia’s short-ball strategy as he pulled Starc directly to Pat Cummins, leaving England at 293 for 6, still trailing by 123 runs.
Lyon has played a vital role in Australia’s success over the past decade, emerging as the leading wicket-taker in Test cricket since his recall to the team during the 2013 Ashes series.
The 35-year-old claimed a four-wicket haul in each innings of Australia’s narrow victory in the series opener at Edgbaston, and he played a crucial role alongside Cummins during the chase.
Despite England losing wickets in the morning session, Lyon’s absence has significantly altered the dynamics of the ongoing contest.
England, having won the toss and elected to bowl on the first day, are set to bat last, and Australia was relying on Lyon’s spin to take wickets in the fourth innings on a pitch that offers decreasing assistance to the seamers.
Cummins will have several part-time spin options to rely on, with Travis Head being the most probable candidate to supplement the three frontline seamers and all-rounder Cameron Green.
Additionally, Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne might contribute with their spin bowling abilities.
Looking beyond the current Test, Murphy is expected to shoulder the bowling responsibility.
He is highly regarded in Australia and made his Test debut earlier this year during the India tour, where he took 14 wickets in four matches at an average of 25, including a seven-for on his debut in Nagpur.
However, he has not played any first-class cricket since the Sheffield Shield final in March and lacks experience in English conditions, as he was withdrawn from a planned County Championship stint at Durham to manage his workload.
Share on Facebook «||» Share on Twitter «||» Share on Reddit «||» Share on LinkedIn