Brisbane: Australia’s Nathan Lyon said reaching the milestone of 400 Test wickets in Saturday’s big Ashes win and joining cricket’s greats had not yet sunk in.
A classical off-spinner, the 34-year-old removed Dawid Malan for 82 on the fourth day of the first Test against England to write his name in Australian sporting history.
Speaking immediately after playing a central role in Australia’s nine-wicket victory at the Gabba, Lyon said: “It hasn’t really hit me yet to be honest.
“No doubt I’ll get my phone and call my family and friends, and that will probably hit a little bit closer to home, I guess.
“But it’s something that I’m very proud of, there’s no doubt about that. It’s been some hard toil to get it, but it’s very rewarding, that’s for sure.”
Ahead of the Test, Lyon had nominated England captain Joe Root as the scalp he would like as his 400th, given they have played so much against each other.
He had to make do with Malan, with Marnus Labuschagne taking the catch at silly mid-off.
Lyon, in his 101st Test and after a decade on the team, became just the 16th player worldwide to achieve the feat and only the third Australian after Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath.
Sri Lankan legend Muttiah Muralitharan tops the all-time Test wicket-takers with 800, followed by Warne on 708.
England star Jimmy Anderson is third on 632, but was overlooked for the Brisbane Test, as was fellow paceman Stuart Broad, who is sixth on the list with 524.
Lyon took 4-91 in the second innings to move to 403 wickets overall.
Next in his sights is West Indian great Curtly Ambrose, who has 405 wickets.
Australian captain Pat Cummins stressed how important Lyon was to the team. “He’s our most important bowler, not just for wicket-taking, but you saw how many overs he bowled yesterday,” Cummins said.
“He went for two and a half an over for 20 overs on a hot day.”
The nine-wicket victory banished the odour of defeat from the Brisbane venue where Australia, under former skipper Tim Paine, lost the series-decider to an under-strength India in January.
That loss gnawed at Australia all year, placing the team’s bowlers and tactics under scrutiny after they proved unable to deliver 20 Indian wickets.
On day three, as England captain Joe Root and Dawid Malan dominated in a 162-run partnership, the match may have stirred uncomfortable memories of India for some in the Gabba crowd.
But they faded quickly on day four as Australia rattled through England’s last eight wickets by lunch.
“I think we stayed a lot more patient,” said the 28-year-old Cummins.
“Especially this morning, we did what we do best and just try to own the top of off-stump.
“Dont get too funky with the fields. Dont get too carried away with the short-bowling plans.
“Thats probably one lesson, stay at Plan A for as long as we can.
“The way we started the match and the way we finished, we didnt change too much.” Australia’s dressing room has been tense at times this year.
England (1st innings) 147
Australia (1st innings) 425 all out
England (2nd innings)
Haseeb Hameed c Carey b Starc 27
Rory Burns c Carey b Cummins 13
Dawid Malan c Labuschagne b Lyon 82
Joe Root c Carey b Green 89
Ben Stokes c Green b Cummins 14
Ollie Pope c Smith b Lyon 4
Jos Buttler c Carey b Hazlewood 23
Chris Woakes c Carey b Green 16
Ollie Robinson c Head b Lyon 8
Mark Wood b Lyon 6
Jack Leach Not Out 0
Extras 4b 5lb 0nb 0pen 6w 15
Total (103.0 overs) 297 all out
Fall of Wickets : 1-23 Burns, 2-61 Hameed, 3-223 Malan, 4-229 Root, 5-234 Pope, 6-266 Stokes, 7-268 Buttler, 8-286 Robinson, 9-296 Wood, 10-297 Woakes
Bowling; Starc 20 3 77 1, Hazlewood 14 6 32 1, Cummins 20 6 51 2, Lyon 34 5 91 4, Green 12 3 23 2, Labuschagne 3 0 14 0.
Australia (2nd innings)
Alex Carey c Buttler b Robinson 9
Marcus Harris Not Out 9
Extras 0b 0lb 2nb 0pen 0w 2
Total (5.1 overs) 20-1
Fall of Wickets : 1-16 Carey
Bowling: Robinson 3 0 13 1; Woakes 2 0 3 0; Wood 0.1 0 4 0.