One of the reasons for India’s Test series victory over Australia in 2018-2019 was Cheteshwar Pujara’s ability to tire the Australian bowlers. Pujara scored 521 runs in the four match Test series last time around and was simply the most difficult batsman on both sides to bowl to. Nathon Lyon stated that much of their pre-series discussions have been centered around Pujara.
Pujara fought for 160 deliveries, scoring 43 runs in the opening Test in Adelaide, before he was dismissed by Nathon Lyon. Pujara will now return to MCG on the Boxing Day where he scored 106 off 319 balls to set up India’s victory last time around. However, Lyon is not too bothered if Pujara gets in for the long haul and said that the Australians had enough tricks which they could deploy. “Pujara is a world-class batter and he’s going to be a big challenge for us for the rest of the series,” Lyon said.
“We spoke about him in-depth before the series started, it was good to see a couple of plans come off in Adelaide, but we’ve got a couple more things up our sleeve hopefully that if he does get in we can put in to deploy. He’s a world-class batter so it’s always fun challenging yourself against the best players in the world and Pujara’s definitely one of those guys.”
One of Pujara’s tactics is to come down the track to Lyon’s deliveries. The Australian spinner revealed that he is working on his pace to make it difficult for Pujara to run down at him.
“I think I’ve been trying to work on that for many years now with John Davison, who is the guy I go to a lot about my spin bowling,” he said. “I think it really depends on who you’re bowling to and the conditions, so I think over the last four or five years my pace has probably gone up a couple of kilometres.”
“But I think it’s more about the shape you’re able to generate on the ball if I’m being honest. I think that’s the most crucial thing – you can bowl at any pace but if you can have that shape on the ball that’s going to be the most dangerous thing. It’s something I’ve been working on for a few years now and hopefully keep getting better with it,” Lyon added.
“I think it’s all about getting the right pace for the conditions but it’s also looking at little keys. I can’t really reveal them but I know there are a few different guys who have different techniques when they come down so they actually have different triggers as well. So as a bowler you’re always looking out for these little triggers that hopefully you can get one step ahead of them.”
“So there’s something I’ve noticed in a couple of guys that they change a little bit when they want to come down the wicket, so it’s all part of bowling spin, you’ve got to try to take note of these little things and make sure you’re bowling your best ball no matter what.”
If the Indian batsman decide to come at me, it’s totally fine: Lyon
Indian batsman will be targeting Nathon Lyon by attacking the Australian off-spinner right from the onset. With Starc, Cummins and Hazelwood being relentless from the other end, the Indian batsman do not have many options left.
“India will probably look to try to attack me again, especially when you look at the quality of the quick bowlers we’ve got here in the Australian side,” he pointed out.
“So I think it’s one of their tactics to come at me, which is totally fine, I’m pretty used to having guys come after me but it’s just about, for me, being able to know when to attack and when to defend as well and realise who I’m bowling with at the other end and having that partnership. So it’s all fun and part of playing cricket, especially being a little spin bowler, you’re going to have a lot of guys come out and try to attack you,” Lyon added.