Sport Cricket Second Test: Nathan Lyon inspires Australia to Test sweep as Pakistan’s resistance ends after dinner

Second Test: Nathan Lyon inspires Australia to Test sweep as Pakistan’s resistance ends after dinner

Nathan Lyon has been in good form this summer. Photo: AAP
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Third Test, day four, Adelaide Oval

First innings: Australia 3-589, Pakistan 367

Second innings: Pakistan 239

Australia has bowled out Pakistan to win by an innings and 48 runs under overcast skies on day four of the second Test at the Adelaide Oval.

The final two wickets fell in quick succession after the dinner break on Monday evening.

Josh Hazlewood (3-63) bowled Mohammad Rizwan for 45 with an in-swinging half volley at the start of the 82nd over.

Then five balls later, Mohammad Abbas (1) was run out by a direct hit from Pat Cummins to earn the home side a 2-0 series win.

Muhammad Musa was the not out batsman on four.

Earlier, after some stubborn resistance from the Pakistan batsmen, off-spinner Nathan Lyon finally imposed himself on the match by taking five wickets.

After an hour and a half on field, Lyon had Shan Masood caught by Mitchell Starc for 68, with Asad Safiq also falling for 57 after a sharp catch by David Warner.

Lyon had Iftikhar Ahmed caught by Marnus Labuschagne for 27, then trapped Yasir Shah lbw for 13 and just before the long break had Shaheen Shah Afridi caught at mid off by Josh Hazlewood.

Masood and Asad had pushed on in the morning session, bringing up the tourists’ 100 and Shan making his half century.

Coming off the field at the tea break paceman Cummins said it was tough conditions to remove settled batsmen.

“Not much happening out there and the ball is pretty soft,” Cummins told Channel Seven.

“[We’re] Trying to shut down the scoreboard and [get] plenty of maidens.”

On Sunday night rain had stopped the home team’s charge towards a big win, with Pakistan at 3-39 at stumps in its second innings after being forced to follow on.

Paceman Mitchell Starc was the destroyer in the tourists’ first innings, his six wickets gifting Australia a 287-run lead.

It was the first time Australia had enforced the follow-on since 2015 against the West Indies in Hobart, with Aussie skipper Tim Paine aware that more rain has been forecast for Adelaide.

After a near-invisible Ashes series, some thought Starc may disappear completely from Test cricket, but the thought never crossed the mind of the man himself.

Starc played just one of the five Tests in England. And after that one, he was dumped for the fifth and deciding fixture.

Many pundits considered Starc, aged 29, was closer to the scrapheap than the top of the pile where he’d spent nigh on eight years.

“Never really come into my thought process,” Starc said of the prospect.

He returned to Australia and changed his action and, crucially, his mindset.

Instead of following the espoused Ashes theory of Australia’s fast bowlers – be economical, be consistent, hit a length – Starc thought differently.

What we spoke a fair bit about in the UK tour, the bowling group was heavily focused on economy rates and hitting a length – back of a length, a really good length – for a long amount of time.

“Which the guys did phenomenally well throughout the Ashes,” Starc said.

“It was something I worked a fair bit on in the nets there. But then coming back to Australia, that first (Sheffield Shield) game, I felt like I perhaps dropped a little bit of pace being too heavily focused on that.

“So now, it’s a bit of that focus along with still having a bit of speed focus as well.”

The recalibration of mind has worked wonders – Starc claimed his second-best Test figures of 6-66 in Pakistan’s first innings in the second Test on Sunday.

The left-armer’s Adelaide haul followed seven wickets over two digs in the series opener.

Where some thought they’d seen the back of him, he’s now back, big time.

David Warner and Mitchell Starc celebrate the wicket of Pakistan’s Babar Azam. Photo: AAP

In addition to the change of thought, Starc considers a technical tweak – a slight positional change when about to coil to release the ball – as vital to his resurgence.

“I was probably more focused on trying to be more consistent rather than just still run in and bowl at a good pace,” he said.

“So finding the happy medium there was probably what resulted in the little technical change, to get myself in positions where I’m probably more compact and less can go wrong in terms of the lines and lengths that I want to bowl.

“The changes put me in better positions and to be quite snappy at the crease.

“It wasn’t a very big change, but just got me into a better position earlier to do what I wanted to do. And it seems to help me be more consistent as well.”