Ashes 2023: Nathan Lyon becomes first specialist bowler to play 100 consecutive Test matches

After taking the field for the second Test of Ashes 2023 against England at Lord’s, veteran Australian off-spinner Nathan Lyon on Wednesday became the first specialist bowler to play 100 consecutive matches in the longest format of the game.

After taking the field for the second Test of Ashes 2023 against England at Lord’s, veteran Australian off-spinner Nathan Lyon on Wednesday became the first specialist bowler to play 100 consecutive matches in the longest format of the game.

Lyon, who made his Test debut in July 2011, has also become only the sixth player in the history of cricket to feature in 100 consecutive Tests. Other players in the list are Alastair Cook (159), Allan Border (153), Mark Waugh (107), Sunil Gavaskar (106) and Brendon McCullum (101).

Coincidentally, Lyon has achieved this rare landmark at Lord’s, the same venue where he was dropped in the format for the last time. This was almost a decade ago during Australia’s tour of England for the 2013 Ashes series.

“That’s something I’m really proud of. To be able to tick off 100 consecutive Test matches, that’s a proper stat in my head. That’s a lot of Test cricket, a lot of ups and downs. No wonder I’ve got no hair,” Lyon had told cricket.com.au, ahead of his 100th consecutive Test appearance.

Lyon also credited former New South Wales Waratahs rugby representative and Australia women’s rugby sevens’ head of athletic performance Tom Carter for keeping him in prime physical shape throughout his 12-year Test career, apart from acknowledging support from family and friends.

“For any athlete to be successful over a long period of time, you’ve got to have really good people around you, and I’m not talking within the Australian cricket team. I feel like my family has been absolutely amazing, with their support and love and care,” the spinner said.

“Then there is Tom Carter, who is arguably one of my best mates but also my PT (personal trainer) who I do a lot of work with behind the scenes. It’s probably five days a week when we’re at home, and he’s a psychologist as well as a fitness trainer because I’m able to vent to him and there’s no judgement.

We have really good conversations, so it’s probably having those really good people around you and I dare say a lot of athletes would feel the same, being able to do it for a long period of time,” he added.

Australia were pushed into batting first under overcast skies at Lord’s by England, who won the toss and elected to bowl first.

For Australia, left-arm pacer Mitchell Starc replaced right-arm seamer Scott Boland in the playing while England have brought in pacer Josh Tongue in place of off-spin all-rounder Moeen Ali.

Australia are currently leading five-match Ashes series 1-0, after winning the opening match at Edgbaston by two wickets in a thrilling fashion.

-IANS

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