West Indies legend Michael Holding believes Nathan Lyon gives Australia a key point of difference in the three-Test series against South Africa.
Holding says it’s hard to split the two teams’ highly-rated pace attacks, but that the Lyon versus Proteas spinner Robin Peterson contest is a lot easier to call.
“Nathan Lyon has been bowling a lot better,” Holding said.
“South Africa is yet to find somebody that is really going to create a lot of problems and be a real match-winner for them in the spin department.”
Centurion hosts the first Test that starts on Wednesday, and has been anything but a spinners’ paradise.
In Australia’s only Test at the venue, Shane Warne went wicketless as South Africa cruised to a eight-wicket win in 1997.
“They’ll prepare normal, hard, bouncy pitches. Nathan Lyon did okay on the Australian pitches (in the Ashes) which were quite similar,” Holding said.
“He should be able to do a good job in South Africa as well.
“Even if he doesn’t get as many wickets as the Ashes, he’ll be able to bowl quite a few overs and keep things quite economical at one end.”
Lyon should be more of a force in the second and third Tests, in Port Elizabeth and Cape Town respectively, but David Warner suggested he should not be discounted in Centurion.
“We’ve seen him at the Gabba and other wickets that don’t turn, he gets a lot of bounce,” Warner said.
“He’s been a lot more consistent of late, and I find it a challenge to face him in the nets.
“He’s capable of taking those match-winning five-fors, which we need.”
Holding echoed Peter Siddle’s sentiment that Australia has superior fast-bowling depth compared to the hosts.
“If they ever have a problem, say with injury, they’re going to struggle,” Holding said of the Proteas.
“Australian certainly have a bit more depth in their fast bowling attack.”
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