Sydney, April 15 (IANS) Australian spin stalwart Nathan Lyon feels the Border-Gavaskar series has risen in prestige to the Ashes, adding that beating the sub-continental cricketing giants is becoming a “massive challenge.”
India have had the better of Australia, winning each of the past three Border-Gavaskar Trophy, since 2017, the latest being the 2-1 Test victory Down Under in the four-match series in 2020/21.
“It’s massive. It’s getting very similar to Ashes series as the pinnacle series for an Australian cricketer,” Lyon was quoted as saying by Code Sports.
“This series with the (World) Test Championship on the line as well it’s going to be even more important and probably a bigger challenge… It’s about doing the basics, not getting too far ahead of ourselves and enjoying the challenge — I think that’s going to be the biggest one.”
Ahead of two away series Australia are scheduled to play in Asia as a part of the ICC World Test Championship 2023, Lyon has recognised the challenges it poses, however still exciting.
“There’s no point hiding behind it,” said Lyon. “That’s one challenge we want to pride ourselves on — going out there and performing really well. This challenge is massive and it’s bloody exciting to be honest.”
Australia made history in the recently-concluded Test tour of Pakistan under Pat Cummins where they registered their first overseas Test series win since 2016 and first in Asia since 2011. The win in 2011 came against Sri Lanka who they will next face from June 29 for a two-match Test series. However, with all of Australia’s away tours scheduled in Asia, the Pakistan win provides them with renewed confidence.
“We said it was going to be a hard-fought 15 days of cricket, and we were spot on. It was an absolutely incredible challenge for the whole 15 days and we saw the ups and downs of playing Test cricket in the subcontinent and how challenging it is,” Lyon added.
After the first Test of the series was drawn, Australia came close to securing an unassailable lead in the second Test.
Lyon brushed aside the struggles he encountered in the first Test and his self-belief saw him pull off a heist as he snared four wickets in the final innings. Despite his best efforts, Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan’s century efforts saw the hosts hand on to a draw.
“I was pretty disappointed that I wasn’t able to get the win. But also a bit realistic — sometimes you have got to take your hat off and say well played. Babar played an exceptional innings.
“Every time Babar hit a boundary it was like a half-full MCG screaming out and there was only about a quarter of the guys there. They love their cricket over there in Pakistan, but to be able to silence them by taking out Babar was pretty special.”