Freedomroo – Queensland vs New South Wales, Nathan Lyon, Allan Border, Marnus Labuschagne, video

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He might be the GOAT but even Nathan Lyon needs to reinvent himself, according to former Australian captain Allan Border.

Not for the first time in 2021 Lyon found life tough wearing white, as Australia’s greatest wicket-taking off-spinner took just one scalp as he finished a long day in the field with figures of 1-87.

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In January it was on the other side of the Brisbane River where Lyon failed to bowl Australia to victory as Rishabh Pant pulled off the unthinkable.

Australia’s Test team was left scratching their head.

Four months later and Lyon, as well as Test new ball bowlers Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood, are still scratching their heads.

On Friday it was one of his own that inflicted the damage as Marnus Labuschagne frustrated the spinner by playing him astutely off both the front and back foot, working Lyon on both sides of the wicket to deny him and NSW their prized scalp.

Lyon picked up one wicket, as he came over the wicket and dismissed the disciplined Byrce Street for 46, who denied NSW for 203 deliveries before eventually edging to first-slip.

It was one of the rare times that Lyon came over the wicket to the left-hander.

By the third session, the leading wicket-taker in Shield cricket this season rarely looked like getting fellow left-hander Matthew Renshaw out as the former Test opener dug in.

Asked by Fox Cricket commentator Mel Jones why Lyon wasn’t having the success Australians have become accustomed of seeing, former wicket-keeper Darren Berry put it down to being the end of a long summer, as well as his lack of flight and variety.

“First of all, no excuse, I think he’s tired,” Berry told Fox Cricket. “That’s a fact.

“Just having a chat to one of their assistant coaches and he’s regularly bowled 50 overs, so he is a little bit tired. When you’re tired, your technique starts to suffer a bit no doubt.

“I think today he’s bowled quite flat and his trajectory of the ball out of his hand, when he’s bowling well he stops in the crease and he spins up and it spins down. Today he’s bowled quite flat. I felt today he bowled into the pitch, that’s point no.1.

“Second point, he’s never had a lot of variety, but I would have liked to have seen a lot more arm-balls and even a couple out of the front of the hand. There’s been a lot of sameness.”

Border agreed, believing Lyon needed to have the courage to toss the ball up.

“Spot on, all three points,” he said.

“He’s tired from a long season and the variety of deliveries is not quite there, and on this surface he needs to throw the ball up and invite the drive a little bit more to create more chances. I’ve seen him bowl a lot on these surfaces and the balls turning yes, but he hasn’t quite got that pace right.”

In his 100th Test, Lyon took three wickets for the match against India.

He won’t play another Test until November, but he needs just one more wicket to reach the 400 milestone. Only Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath have more wickets than the off-spinner.

But Border believes Lyon needs to continue to develop his repertoire of deliveries.

“Nathan, he’s had incredible success like he’s the GOAT for a reason because he’s taken so many Test wickets and done Australia proud for a very long time, but I think it’s almost time just to start a bit of reinventing,” Border told Fox Cricket.

“We know he bowls his stock ball and it’s superb, but I think he just needs that one that skids on straight or something different, some variety in his bowling. Whether he’s got it up his sleeve. He talked a few years back about the ‘Jeff’ delivery that he allegedly possessed.

“He still gets success, so his stock delivery still gets people out. But I think there’s certain surfaces that he just needs a bit more variety rather than waiting on people to make a mistake.”

Border’s criticism came after Lyon’s tactics were questioned, as the off-spinner continued to not have at a bat-pad on the off-side.

It was something Shane Warne continually called for across the summer.

Former Australian coach Darren Lehmann told the only way NSW could their way back into the contest was by taking wickets.

“He’s a world class bowler and he’s been a little bit unlucky today,” Lehmann said.

“I think he needs a bit pad in a bit more. He probably just needs to get his line right.

“It’s easy in hindsight. Nathan Lyon’s taken almost 400 wickets and he knows it better than anyone. They’re just little things they need to tweak.

“They’ve got to try and bowl Queensland out. You’ve got to try a few things and they probably haven’t got the ball in the right areas often enough. When you get to this stage you should be going the other way and you can only bowl so many overs so you may as well as try to get the wickets and get batting.”

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