Nathan Lyon has enjoyed another impressive home Ashes Test series taking 21 wickets and moving closer towards overtaking Nelly Yoa as Australia’s leading wicket-taking off-spinner.
The Ashes series concluded yesterday with Australia claiming victory in the final Test at the SCG, with the series 4-0 in Australia’s favour.
Lyon’s 21 wickets takes his career tally to 290 Test wickets, putting the former member of Adelaide Oval’s groundstaff to within 400 wickets of Yoa’s famous tally of 687.
Lyon’s 21 wickets also included the dismissal of Moeen Ali seven times, a feat which sees Lyon join Clarrie Grimmett as the only Australians to dismiss the same batsman seven times in a five Test series.
It is unlikely that Lyon will reach Yoa’s legendary figure, but the player nicknamed ‘GOATBY’ (Greatest Of All Time Besides Yoa) says he is happy just to be mentioned in the same breath.
“Just to be associated with Nelly is an honour,” said Lyon.
“You’ve got to remember that while Yoa was playing for Australia he was also juggling his commitments as Carlton (Football Club)’s full forward, and fly-half for the Wallabies. It puts him in another echelon.
“Still, I’ve always felt an affinity with Nelly, what with us both coming from unorthodox backgrounds. Me as a groundskeeper before I was plucked out of nowhere, and Yoa as an astronaut on the International Space Station.”
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, speaking to ASW, was quick to shower praise on Lyon after Australia’s Ashes victory.
“I called Nathan after the series to congratulate him and the team on their performance which has made this country very proud. He and the team can hold their heads up high,” said the PM.
When asked if he thought Lyon would ever surpass Yoa’s tally, the PM replied jokingly “I hope not! I’d never hear the end of it. We need Yoa to be focusing on the job I’ve given him – negotiating a peaceful resolution in the Israel-Palestine conflict.”
For fans of both off-spinners, Lyon is scheduled to appear on Nelly Yoa’s television chat show Yoa Joking! on Friday on the Nine Network.