Sports, Cricket

Lyon’s eight-wicket haul puts Australia in strong position against India

Published : 02 Mar 2023 08:12 PM

Another inspiring spell from spinner Nathan Lyon has Australia poised to break through and defeat India in the third Test in Indore on Thursday.

Australia will chase just 76 to win on a sharply turning and deteriorating pitch at Holkar Stadium after dismissing the hosts for 163 in their second innings.

Lyon finished with 8-64 to claim the fourth 10-wicket Test match haul of his career after picking up 3-35 in the first innings. The 35-year-old has fought back in outstanding fashion after a disappointing opening Test of the Border-Gavaskar series in Nagpur when he went for 1-126.

It was Lyon's 23rd five-wicket haul, backing up his 5-67 during the second Test in Delhi when he bowled arguably the best he had in his 118-match career.

India's number three Cheteshwar Pujara, so often Australia's nemesis, was delivering a typically stoic knock to keep India in the contest.

A chase of anything more than 100 was always going to be tricky on a pitch that has already come under intense criticism. India was fighting hard at 7-155, but Australia took complete control when acting captain Steve Smith hung onto a brilliant catch to dismiss Pujara (59) off Lyon's bowling.

Smith has had troubles with a degenerative back issue this year, putting down a number of catches in slips during this series, but he hung onto a classic. It would be a famous victory if Australia chase down the runs after it was humiliated in Nagpur and Delhi, falling 0-2 behind in the series, and captain Pat Cummins returned to Sydney to be with his ill mother.

After starting day two with a lead of 47 and six wickets still in hand, Australia's batting capitulated for the third-straight match to leave the door open for India.

Australia extended its first-innings lead to 88 but produced another monumental collapse to be all-out for 197.

In-form number five Peter Handscomb and all-rounder Cameron Green batted for the entire first hour after the tourists began day two at 4-156. The watchful pair added another 30 runs to enhance Australia's prospects of securing its first Test victory in India since the opening match of the 2017 series.