Cricket-Australia thrash Pakistan by 360 runs as Lyon passes 500 Test wickets

FILE PHOTO: Cricket – Australia Nets – Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain – September 2, 2019 Australia’s Nathan Lyon during nets Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff/file photo

PERTH (Reuters, Dec. 17, 2023) -Spinner Nathan Lyon joined the illustrious 500-wicket club on Sunday, Dec. 17, picking up 2-14 on a seam-friendly Perth Stadium surface to help Australia bowl Pakistan out for a paltry 89 and cruise to a 360-run victory on day four of the first Test.

Defending 450, Australia’s much-vaunted pace attack ripped through Pakistan’s batting lineup in the afternoon, allowing Lyon to trap tail-ender Faheem Ashraf lbw and celebrate his milestone before the tourists folded inside 31 overs.

“I don’t think it’s hit me yet, but there’s obviously been a lot of hard work go into the journey… It’s pretty special to take 500 in my first test back,” Lyon told reporters.

The world Test champions, now 1-0 up in the three-Test series, had declared after lunch on 233-5 in 63.2 overs, having posted 487 earlier and bowling the visitors out for 271 in the first innings.

Pakistan’s fourth innings run-chase started in shambolic fashion as they were reduced to 48-4 inside 15 overs before tea, and it did not get any better.

Josh Hazlewood (3-13) and Mitchell Starc (3-31) inflicted the most damage, but all eyes were on Lyon as he sought to join Shane Warne (708) and Glenn McGrath (563) among Australians with 500 wickets, and become the eighth player overall to reach the figure.

The 36-year-old lost a caught-behind review in the 26th over, but got his man in the 28th, going upstairs again to send Ashraf on his way for five, with Hawk-Eye showing contact with the stumps.

The off-spinner, returning from a torn calf which left him sidelined for most of this year’s drawn Ashes series in England, held the ball aloft and accepted the embrace of his team mates, and then clean-bowled Aamer Jamal (4) later in the over for good measure.

“I don’t think it’s any secret that he’s the most important cog in our bowling lineup,” Australia skipper Pat Cummins said.

“It’s great having him back, another 500 to go.”

Lyon’s bowling figures were initially given as 2-18 but were later adjusted to 2-14, with the other four runs counted as byes.

Consecutive strikes by Hazlewood to dismiss Saud Shakeel (24) and Khurram Shahzad (0) brought the match to a frenetic end.

Earlier, Pakistan’s debutant seamers Shahzad (3-45) and Jamal (1-28), outshining the more experienced Shaheen Afridi and Ashraf, accounted for the three Australian wickets to fall on the fourth day.

Usman Khawaja (90) and Mitchell Marsh (63 not out) accumulated throughout the morning session, absorbing some body blows on an uneven pitch and accelerated after lunch in pursuit of a declaration.

Marsh, more comfortable as the aggressor, ended with seven fours and two sixes but the innings was called to a close by Cummins when Khawaja mistimed a cut to third man.

“We were not as disciplined as we wanted to be,” Pakistan captain Shan Masood said.

The second Test begins in Melbourne on Dec. 26 before concluding in Sydney, where Pakistan last won a Test Down Under in 1995, on Jan. 3.



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