LONDON (Reuters) – Nathan Lyon tied Dennis Lillee as Australia’s third-highest test wicket-taker after picking up three against England at Lord’s on Thursday but the off-spinner preferred not to dwell on his own achievements and hailed the impact of team mate Josh Hazlewood.
Lyon joined Lillee on 355 test wickets as he took 3-68 in the second Ashes test to help Australia dismiss England for 258. The visitors ended the second’s day play on 30-1.
The entire first day was washed out.
Fast bowler Hazlewood, who was not picked for Australia’s 251-run victory in the first test at Edgbaston, chipped in with 3-58 and proved he was fully recovered from a stress fracture in his back when he had Jason Roy caught behind on his third ball.
“I think Josh has been a world-class bowler for a long period of time,” Lyon told reporters after joining Lillee on the mark behind Shane Warne (708) and Glenn McGrath (563).
“I don’t think he’s got the rewards he’s deserved as yet in his career, I think they’re to come.
“In my eyes Josh is up there in the top-three bowlers in test cricket – that’s my personal opinion.”
Lyon added that Hazlewood’s greatest strength was his ability to build pressure on batsmen, a skill that helped McGrath achieve his success.
“His control — hitting that nagging length — but having the skill to go both ways, in and out,” Lyon added of Hazlewood’s repertoire.
“But then he’s got a pretty strong bouncer as well, and it’s usually on the money.”
The strength of the Australian pace battery on tour in England, they left out Mitchell Starc and dropped James Pattinson for the Lord’s test, has given coach Justin Langer difficult selection decisions to make.
And Hazlewood’s performance on his return to the side showed he was mentally strong, Lyon added.
“I know he was disappointed to be left out of the first test, but to come back and bowl the way he did today – hats off to Josh,” the 31-year-old said.
“I thought he was the pick of our bowlers.”
(Writing by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Peter Rutherford)