Lyon says Australia needs to ‘play ugly’

1476434164328In the wake of the disastrous Test series against Sri Lanka, Australia’s premier Test spinner Nathan Lyon believes the side needs to learn how to “play ugly” to achieve success on the subcontinent.

The 3-0 whitewash against Sri Lanka added to the woes the Test side has faced in the region, and with a tour looming against India next year, the Australians are under immense pressure to stop the rot.

Lyon believes the Australian approach to the game needs to be adjusted to the harsh subcontinent conditions.

“We might have to adjust a few things here and there and might have to play some ugly cricket and go away from the big expansive game of cricket,” he said.

But despite the disastrous outcome in Sri Lanka, Lyon chooses to look at the positives of the series; that it exposed some of the side to the playing realities of the hostile subcontinent environment.

“We’ll be better for that run in Sri Lanka, for all the experience,” he said. “A lot of players had never played in the subcontinent before so it’s [now] an opportunity for us to get better.”

Australian cricket has been in a state of flux in recent months. The disastrous Sri Lanka Test campaign was somewhat absolved by a successful one-day international and Twenty20 series, before the 5-0 whitewash in South Africa put the pressure back on Steve Smith’s side.

South Africa will tour Australia this summer and Lyon believes members of the Test and one-day squads will be itching for revenge on home soil.

“Yes, South Africa are a great team – they’ve got some world-class superstars in there – but we need to go out and play well,” he said. “We just need to get out there and compete out there and get back to playing some good, strong, positive cricket.”

Lyon will line up for NSW in the Matador Cup on Sunday against Victoria in a crucial clash if the Blues are to defend their crown. After defeating Queensland, NSW are 2-2 from their four games and will be looking to capitalise on home turf against the high-flying Bushrangers.
Lyon says the Blues “have not been at our best yet and there is room for improvement”, and will be tested by the star-studded Bushrangers.

“They’re a team full of superstars, so it’s going to be a great challenge for us,” he said. “It’s exciting. You want to play cricket against the best players in the country.

“It’s going to be a great challenge for us, but there’s no reason why we can’t play some really good cricket and really compete well against Victoria.”

The Bushrangers boast a host of current and former Australian one-day stars, such as Cameron White and Glenn Maxwell, who will keep the NSW bowlers on their toes on the tiny North Sydney Oval.

But Lyon is relishing the opportunity to go toe-to-toe with the best.

“They’re a very well-experienced side,” Lyon said. “Those guys in the batting line-up are quite dangerous, especially at North Sydney with the size of the ground. So it’s going to be a good challenge for us bowlers, but you want to challenge yourself against the best players.” (Courtesy Brisbane Times)