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Pujara is an unbelievable cricketer, nothing fazes him: Lyon

Last updated on 02 Mar 2023 | 03:35 PM
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Pujara is an unbelievable cricketer, nothing fazes him: Lyon

No other Indian batter has been dismissed more times to a particular bowler than Pujara has got out to Lyon

Nathan Lyon has dismissed Cheteshwar Pujara 13 times in Test cricket but the offspinner has nothing but respect for the Indian batter. 

No other Indian batter has been dismissed more times to a particular bowler than Pujara has got out to Lyon, but at the same time, the right-hander has scored 561 runs at an average of 43.2 against the Australian spinner, which is the most for a batter against one bowler in the history of Test cricket.

Lyon scalped eight wickets on day two of the third Test in Indore to put Australia in a commanding position, but this was only after Pujara scored 59 off 142 deliveries. The right-hander was the only Indian batter to put up some fight and managed to give India at least some sort of lead - 75 runs.

"I won't describe him as flashy or anything like that. But he's an unbelievable cricketer. I've got a lot of respect for the way he goes about it. Nothing fazes him, whether it's bouncing at the Gabba or spinning in Indore. He seems to find a way and a method,” said Lyon 

"A lot of boys and girls can go the way he goes about batting and learn from it. He doesn't have reverse sweeps and shots like that, but one thing he does have is an unbelievable defence. In my eyes, Test cricket is built around defence. We saw his class on a pretty challenging wicket once again."

It was eventually Lyon who dismissed Pujara but it was Steven Smith who stole all the limelight. The stand-in Australian skipper grabbed a stunning one-handed catch at leg slip and Lyon felt only Smith could have taken that catch. 

"It was massive. To be honest with you, and this is no disrespect to anyone else in the team, but I don't think anyone else is catching it. That's just me bowling from one end and looking up and seeing Steve Smith at slip or leg slip and having that confidence as a bowler.

"Yes, he has dropped a couple here and there, but I wouldn't trade him for anyone. It shows the quality of cricketer he is that we see at training the different methods he is coming up with to try and get better and try and improve. This is someone who has played 95 Test matches.

"Hats off to Smithy, he did all the work, I'm not surprised but it was a massive moment to finish off the day strongly."

Talking about Smith’s captaincy, Lyon said: “I have obviously played a lot with Smithy throughout my career, so we are very good mates on and off the field and are able to have some very good cricket conversations. He is one of the best batters in the world, especially over the last decade, the way his brain works with cricket tactics provides me with good conversations.

"But saying that I thought Pat skippered the game really well last week. We had really good plans under both of them and that's where Australian cricket is in good hands with one of the best bowlers in the world and one of the best batters in the world being our two leaders."

Lyon was at his absolute best on day two in Indore. The offspinner made India skipper Rohit Sharma misjudge his length, deceived Shubman Gill with flight and drift before producing a peach that went straight on to castle KS Bharat, who played for the turn. 

"It doesn't matter what wicket I'm playing on. If I can get somebody to defend, I'm pretty happy. That's the nuts and bolts of my secret, to try and get guys defending me for long periods. That means I'm putting the balls in the right areas,” said Lyon, who now has 479 wickets in 118 Tests.

"Saying that, I don't mind if guys try and hit me. I have been hit for the most number of sixes in Test history so I'm not afraid to be hit for a six (smiles). It's a great challenge, but I don't mind it either way, but more challenging to get the guys defending.”

Lyon got all his wickets in this innings bowling round the wicket. "I know a lot of people see it as a negative. I see it as total opposite. I think it's very attacking, you are bringing all modes of dismissal. Times have changed when you were able to bowl over the stumps and still get guys in line. 

"Yes, that may be the case every now and then, but when you bowl that line, the good batters around the world they get outside the line straight away. But when you come around the wicket with big spin, it brings in all modes of dismissal."

(With inputs from PTI)

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