Nathan Lyon feels sheepish sitting alongside Dennis Lillee on Australia’s list of all-time Test wicket-takers, having declared the best is still to come after celebrating his 355th scalp.
Lyon removed Ben Stokes, Stuart Broad and Jonny Bairstow on day two of the second Ashes Test at Lord’s.
In terms of sheer beauty of the dismissal, Bairstow’s attempt to hoike a delivery over the leg-side fence is unlikely to feature in Lyon’s career highlight reel.
But Usman Khawaja’s catch in the deep was a momentous milestone for the offspinner, whose stunning transformation from Adelaide Oval groundsman to frontline tweaker will forever be part of Australian cricket folklore.
The scalp of Bairstow lifted Lyon’s career tally to 355 Test wickets, drawing him level with pace legend Lillee.
The only Australian bowlers to have enjoyed more prolific Test journeys are Shane Warne (708 wickets) and Glenn McGrath (563 wickets).
“I really struggle to see myself up with the likes of Warne, McGrath, Lillee. It doesn’t sit well with me,” Lyon told reporters.
“Those guys are true legends of the game and I’m just some bloke trying to bowl offbreaks.”
Tim Paine suggested last week that 31-year-old Lyon, the most experienced member of the current XI in terms of Tests played, is getting better with every Test and could keep playing for as long he wants to.
Lyon, who spun Australia to victory in the Edgbaston series opener with his greatest Ashes haul ever, is adamant he can improve on current career-best form.
“I still feel like I’m learning about bowling, about batting, about fielding,” Lyon said.
“I’m still in the learning stage, I don’t think I’ve hit my peak yet.
“I’m very confident with the way the ball’s coming out of my hand, don’t get me wrong.
“I’m very happy with where my skill set is at, I just feel like I can get better.”
Lyon was unaware of Thursday’s milestone until he walked off the ground and was told by the team’s media manger.
“I am sure I will have a message from mum and dad,” he said.
“I haven’t really had the time to sit back and think about it.
“I’ve always said I am not about personal milestones or personal achievements. It’s about winning Test matches and Test series.”
MOST TEST WICKETS FOR AUSTRALIA
708 – Shane Warne (145 Tests, 25.41 average)
563 – Glenn McGrath (124 Tests, 21.64 average)
355 – Dennis Lillee (70 Tests, 23.92 average)
355 – Nathan Lyon (88 Tests, 31.79 average).
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