Mixed emotions for Lyon as he heads ‘home’
Nathan Lyon returns to his spiritual cricket home at the peak of powers with bitter-sweet memories of a career defining performance against India in the Phillip Hughes Test.
Lyon is in sensational form with 20 Sheffield Shield wickets since returning as the second highest wicket-taker in the Test series Pakistan won 1-0 in the United Arab Emirates during October.
"I am feeling very confident the way the ball is coming out, doing a lot work and will do the same leading into this Test," Lyon told The Advertiser.
"I am feeling god but can't be complacent coming up against a world class team full of super stars.
"I love playing cricket here, excited about the opportunities that lay ahead. This is where my first class career started a few years ago, a great place to play cricket."
Lyon has taken 203 of his 318 wickets since answering criticism of his fourth innings potency by bowling Australia to victory against India on the final day in Adelaide during 2014.
Lyon (7/152) scythed through India while breaking a 185-run partnership between Virat Kohli and Murali Vijay in a thrilling 48-run win. Lyon's 12-wicket match return matched Australia's total wickets lost for the Border-Gavaskar series opener.
Off-spinner Lyon was the man of the match but took away none of the warm afterglow that usually accompanies a break-out performance given Hughes' demise.
"Four years ago it was a very special Test for a lot bigger reasons than cricket but to win the game of cricket the way the Australian side did, it was pretty special to be a part of that," said Lyon.
"It is one of those things, time heals and stuff but it is one of things you never really get over especially when you lose a good mate."
Lyon backed former South Australian teammate Travis Head to excel in his maiden home Test and beyond this summer as Australia rebuilds from the loss of banned duo Steve Smith and David Warner.
"I like Trav a lot, he is like a little brother," said Lyon who presented Head with his baggy green in Dubai.
"I was here when he started his first class career and to see him progress it has been absolutely fantastic. Trav has my full support and I looking forward to seeing him get some big runs this summer."
India hasn't won a Test series here since its first tour 71 years ago. The belief inside the Australian dressing room contrasts with doomsayers following successive series losses to South Africa and Pakistan.
"Only the media are talking about underdogs. Every game you go into you are 50-50. We have to make sure we are playing a positive brand of cricket," said Lyon.
Australia won't get swept up in any preoccupation with Kohli despite his three ton record in two Adelaide Tests.
"Everyone loves him and one of greats of the game," said Lyon of Kohli.
"He walks out, we respect him but we won't go lightly on him."
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