Veteran spinner Nathan Lyon has been ruled out for the remainder of the Ashes series due to a calf injury. Australia, who currently lead the series 2-0, has decided to put their faith in inexperienced spinner Todd Murphy as Lyon’s replacement for the final three Tests.
Lyon sustained a “significant calf tear” while fielding on the second day of the recently concluded second Test against England at Lord’s. The 35-year-old’s absence will be keenly felt, as he has been a key figure in the Australian team for many years. With 399 Test wickets to his name, Lyon’s absence leaves a void in the team’s spin department.
Instead of calling up another spinner as Lyon’s replacement, Australia has chosen to give Murphy, who has played four Tests so far, the opportunity to showcase his skills as the team’s No.1 slow bowler. Murphy impressed during the recent Border-Gavaskar series against India, where he claimed 14 wickets at an average of 25.21. Lyon has expressed confidence in Murphy’s abilities, stating that his stock ball is good enough for international cricket.
“His stock ball is good enough in international cricket. We have seen that in India in arguably the hardest place to bowl spin,” Lyon said as quoted by cricket.com.au.
“It will be a different challenge with the England batters. If they do come at him, it provides Todd with a decent challenge. But a chance to leave his footmarks here in England. It is a big Ashes series, he is excited by the opportunity,” he added.
Acknowledging the challenge that lies ahead for Murphy, Lyon emphasized that England’s batters would provide a different test compared to the conditions in India. However, Lyon believes that this is an opportunity for Murphy to make his mark and leave his footprints on English soil. As Australia aims to retain the Ashes urn, Lyon expressed his excitement for Murphy’s opportunity in this high-stakes series.
Apart from Lyon, the Australian squad also sees the omission of back-up batter Matthew Renshaw, who has been released from the updated 16-player squad. However, Renshaw will remain in England and may still be called upon in case of a short-term injury within the Australian camp. Back-up seamer Michael Neser and reserve keeper Jimmy Peirson continue to remain with the squad.
The third Test of the Ashes series is set to begin at Headingley on Thursday. Australia will be aiming for either a win or a draw in order to retain the coveted urn they have held since the beginning of 2018. The absence of Lyon will undoubtedly test the Australian team’s depth and resilience as they look to secure victory in this crucial encounter.
Australia squad for remaining Ashes Tests: Pat Cummins (c), Scott Boland, Alex Carey (wk), Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitch Marsh, Todd Murphy, Michael Neser, Jimmy Peirson (wk), Steve Smith (vc), Mitchell Starc, David Warner