Lyon’s Australia Test spot in a spin

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Lyon's Australia Test spot in a spin
Nathan Lyon. (FILE PHOTO: AFP)

MELBOURNE: Australia captain Steve Smith Thursday criticised Nathan Lyon’s bowling consistency, but has left questions about the spinner’s place in the Test team up to the selectors.

Lyon, Australia’s most successful off-spinner with 220 wickets, has taken just nine wickets at 66 runs this season.

The Pakistan lower order were particularly severe on him in the first innings of the second Melbourne Test carting him for one for 115 off 23 overs.

Pakistan No.8 Sohail Khan clubbed Lyon for four massive sixes as the spinner conceded 46 runs from just six overs.

With the second Test looking like it is headed for a draw on Friday’s final day, attention has already switched to next week’s series decider in Sydney with Australia currently leading 1-0.

When asked by reporters if Lyon was a guaranteed selection for the Sydney Test, Smith replied: “I’m not sure, that’s up to the selectors.

“He obviously hasn’t bowled at his best in this game. It’s always difficult bowling to right-handers. They’ve only got two (left-handers) in their line-up.

“We’re just looking for Nathan to be a little more consistent in the way he bowls.”

The SCG pitch traditionally takes spin and 28 of 37 wickets in a Sheffield Shield game were taken by spinners there last month.

Left-armed spinner Steve O’Keefe is fit again after playing in the first Test in Sri Lanka in July and looms as the most likely spin inclusion for the Sydney Test.

While Smith wouldn’t say who could come into the squad, he indicated the spin stocks will get a boost.

“I think it’s possible that we could see another spinner in Sydney,” Smith said.

“It’s been spinning quite a lot there in Shield cricket this season so there’s a good chance there’d be a spinner added.

“(The fast bowlers) have done some bowling and it’s obviously been a pretty big summer for them as well. Six Tests matches is always a lot.”

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