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Friday January 28, 2022

Lyon says Australia capable of Ashes whitewash

By AFP
December 04, 2021

BRISBANE: Spinner Nathan Lyon believes his team can sweep the Ashes series, saying England will have doubts about their own chances given their poor record in Australia.

The tourists have lost nine of their last 10 Tests in Australia going back more than a decade and haven’t won in Brisbane — where the opening Test starts next Wednesday — since 1986.

Veteran Lyon, who is one wicket away from claiming 400 Test scalps, told fellow spin great Shane Warne in a question and answer session for News Corp. that the record would weigh on England.

“I think England will have some doubts because a lot of their senior players have been out here on tours before and they haven’t won a Test out here,” said the 34-year-old.

“If you look at the likes of Joe Root, Ben Stokes and these guys, I think they’re going to be confident.

“But I think there’ll be some doubt in their minds (about) the Australian side and the way the Australian team go about their business here in Australia.

“So I’m not sure if it’s fear — because no doubt they’ll have their belief within their squad,” added the 100-Test veteran.

“But I know here in the Australian cricket team, we have the belief that we can come out here and win the Ashes, and win it 5-0.”

Working against Australia is that because of coronavirus they haven’t played a Test since their home series with India about a year ago, when they crashed 2-1. In contrast, England have seen far more red-ball action.

But Lyon said he didn’t believe it gave England any advantage in the five-Test Ashes series.

“I think everyone’s played enough cricket, we know what we need to do and we’re already a very tight team,” he said.

“Off the back of the boys winning the (T20) World Cup (last month), there’s such a positive energy around the group.”

Lyon pinpointed all-rounder Stokes and wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler as England’s dangermen because they “can change the momentum of a game quite quickly”.

But he nominated skipper Root as the scalp he would like to get as his 400th wicket.

“I’ve loved bowling against Rooty. We’ve played a lot of Test cricket against each other, so someone like Joe Root obviously would be quite special,” he said. “But, to be honest with you, I don’t really care. I just want it to come and we can move on.

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