Veteran off-spinner Nathan Lyon is aiming for a 3-0 sweep in Australia’s first test series in Pakistan since 1998.
“It’s going to be a big challenge, but I’m going into this test series thinking we’re going to be performing and playing our best cricket to win 3-0,” Lyon said in an online news conference Wednesday, two days ahead of the first test at the Pindi Cricket Stadium.
“We haven’t played an away test since 2019 … it’s a very young, exciting Australian test squad that we’ve got here, and we’re coming off a pretty spectacular summer.”
Australia will have just three practice sessions to prepare for the test matches after arriving in Pakistan on Sunday and spending two days in the team hotel.
They will be playing three test matches within 22 days, part of the International Cricket Council’s World Test Championship, before competing in a three-match ODI series and a one-off Twenty20 against Pakistan.
“We’ve got enough people to cover all the bases,” Lyon said. “Whatever team we go out with, we’re confident we can play a positive brand of cricket here in Pakistan.”
With 415 wickets in 105 test matches, Lyon will share the major workload of Australian slow bowlers.
Left-arm spinner Ashton Agar and uncapped 28-year-old leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson are also in selection contention if Australia opts to go into the first test with two specialist spinners.
Lyon has a decent record on typical slow subcontinent wickets, claiming 95 wickets in 19 test matches across India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
His tally also includes 15 wickets in four test matches against Pakistan played in the United Arab Emirates.
And after one day of practice at the match venue, Lyon predicted a similar type of wicket prepared for the first test that he has experienced in the UAE during his previous two tours.
“There’s not much grass on it,” Lyon said. “It’s going to be pretty shiny come day one … pretty nice to bat on the first couple of days. Then we’ll look to hopefully spin, and reverse swing may come into it.”
Australia also has three part-time spinners in Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne and Travis Head, if required to support an attack that is usually spearheaded by the pace bowlers.
“So we’re very lucky in that area,” Lyon said. “We’ve seen both Marnus and Smithy play a role in taking some big wickets. I think they will have the opportunity to get the ball at some stage.”