Offspinner Nathan Lyon has been preparing himself for a more attacking role with the Australian side. Though all of his three wickets to dismantle West Indies for 116 came during the middle overs, Lyon’s captain Steven Smith has been eying a greater role for him during the Powerplay and the slog overs.
“Smithy and I spoke a couple of times at a few different net sessions about playing a different role potentially with the new ball, potentially at the death,” Lyon said at the post-match press conference. “So I’ve just got to be able to work with what Smithy wants.”
With a robust assembly line of fast bowlers and seam-bowling allrounders coming through, the role of a spinner in an Australian one-day outfit has often been limited. Lyon himself hinted that his primary objective had often been about keeping the runs down and, if as a byproduct he ended up with a rich haul, all the better.
The 28-year old came on as first-change in the seventh over, maintained an economy rate of 3.9 and dismissed Marlon Samuels and Kieron Pollard off successive deliveries in the 17th to establish Australia’s dominance.
“Always good to be on a hat-trick,” Lyon said, “but at the end of the day I was more worried about trying to stop the runs and if a wicket came around, [then good]. It’s just about trying to create some chances.”
The slow pitches in Guyana have enabled the spinners to dictate terms. Legspinner Adam Zampa picked up 3 for 16 in 5.3 overs, part-time offspinner Glenn Maxwell chipped in with 1 for 3 off two overs and Lyon was quite pleased to have the support.
“About time, I reckon,” he joked. “No, it’s good. I get along with Zamps and Maxi really well. We work really well together and we seem to bowl really well in tandem. So it was exciting to, firstly play the first game with Zamps, and hopefully there’s a big future for both of us.”
Lyon, Zampa and Maxwell bowled nine overs between the 17th and the 25th, took four wickets and gave away only 20 runs. That left West Indies at 90 for 7, with nowhere to go.
“Our communication is one of our biggest weapons,” Lyon said. “As I said, we’re all really good mates, we all want to see each other do well. So if we can have that open communication with each other and try and help each other to better the team and get the right result for Australia, then we’re heading the right way.”
There was one area of concern, though. Australia were playing their first ODI since February, and their first international since March, and Lyon admitted there was “a bit of rust floating around.”
“But it was a good workout. All over, we’re pretty happy with the win, but we know there’s a lot more work to do in this tri-series.”
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