Australian spin bowler Nathan Lyon.
Australian spin bowler Nathan Lyon. DAVE HUNT

Meagre Gabba return piles pressure on 'Garry'

NATHAN Lyon is hanging on by a thread and his second successive baggy green reprieve has not lessened the suffocating pressure on Australia's under-fire spinner.

After 61 Tests, the spinner they call Garry is the nowhere man of Australian cricket.

Lyon has held his spot in the squad for the Boxing Test but there are growing questions about his ability to be the match-winning fourth-innings tweaker Australia is craving.

The 29-year-old only narrowly dodged the selection axe for the Gabba Test and his returns of 0-31 and 2-108 have done nothing to silence the knockers.

It is blatantly obvious that Lyon is not a threat when the ball isn't bouncing sharply.

And that is a huge worry heading to India early next year.

Even skipper Steve Smith conceded Lyon looked lost at times at the Gabba when the pink ball went soft.

"Bowling at the Gabba with the pink ball that was pretty soft does make it a difficult place to bowl spin,” Smith said. "He has a great record at the Gabba in red-ball cricket where the ball stays harder for longer and he is able to generate that bounce out of the wicket.

"But he couldn't get that bounce with the way the ball was.”

Asked to sum up Lyon's overall Gabba performance, Smith replied: "In periods of the game he bowled well. In others he was a little bit off.”

There were some lovely moments after play for Lyon when his young daughters Milla and Harper charged on to the Gabba to give their dad a big hug.

But there wasn't much love for Lyon from the Pakistani batsmen who often treated him with disdain.

Lyon needs a big Boxing Day moment to prove he is not a fading force and get his career back on track before the huge mission to the subcontinent in February.


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