Australia’s openers will look for quick runs at the SCG on Monday on a tricky pitch that is set to provide spin king Nathan Lyon with plenty of assistance as the home side looks for a series clean sweep against New Zealand.
David Warner (23) and Joe Burns (16) will resume at 0-40 – a lead of 243 – after the tourists were bowled out for 251 in their first innings.
Opener Burns told Channel Seven at stumps he expected the pitch to deteriorate and give Lyon more to work with on the final day.
“If you are asking me it is incredibly tough [to bat],” he said. “It is just one of those wickets where you have to apply yourself.
“Probably [we’ll head] towards 400 [lead], take as many as we can get.”
Spinner Lyon jagged 5-68, his first five for at the SCG, getting wickets early and late on Sunday to set up the third Test for Australia.
Despite a bandaged and bloodied thumb, Lyon was more concerned about his two fumbled catches during the Black Caps’ innings.
Lyon grabbed his maiden SCG five-wicket haul on day three of the third trans-Tasman Test, cleaning up the tail after ending a stubborn opening partnership between Tom Blundell and Tom Latham.
The offspinner, who delivered 30.4 overs in total, injured his thumb while dropping a return catch in the 16th over.
The blow lifted Lyon’s thumbnail, resulting in plenty of blood.
Lyon showed few signs of discomfort while bowling with a heavily strapped thumb but the manner in which he dropped another catch off his own bowling, trying to take it in his left hand, suggested all was not right.
“The thumb is fine … I do have both thumbnails,” Lyon told reporters.
I split my thumb but I was more frustrated about dropping a pretty easy catch … more disappointed in my (fielding) standards.
“I pride myself on my fielding, especially the fielding off my own bowling. I know how hard it is to take Test wickets and when you’re dropping catches off your own bowling it doesn’t sit really well.”
The tweaker has consistently troubled New Zealand this series and four more wickets in this game will make it his most prolific home summer ever, surpassing the 25 wickets he snagged from six Tests in 2018-19.
Lyon, who shifted to Sydney in 2013, took particular delight with Sunday’s performance.
It came in the Black Caps’ first innings – and at a ground where Lyon’s Test bowling average was 47.57 prior to the start of the current series finale.
“I’ve always enjoyed playing cricket here. It’s been a challenge for a few years but it’s great to be of some assistance out there,” he said.
LYON’S BEST TEST HAULS AT SCG
5-68 v NZ, 2020
4-178 v India, 2019
3-54 v England, 2018