Lyon joins illustrious company

Nathan Lyon (AFP)
Nathan Lyon (AFP)

Melbourne - Nathan Lyon hasn't always felt secure in the Australia Test team but on Saturday he joined illustrious company with his 100th Test wicket in leading a dramatic turnaround in the fourth Ashes Test.

Often under-appreciated and dropped for other lesser spinners, Lyon became only the sixth off-spinner to take 100 Test wickets for his country in his second innings haul of five for 50 to bowl Australia into a winning position in the fourth Ashes Test against England in Melbourne.

Lyon joined finger-spinners Hugh Trumble, George Giffen, Ashley Mallett, Bruce Yardley and Ian Johnson to reach the milestone.

Australia will go after 201 runs on Sunday's fourth day in their bid to take a 4-0 series lead after skittling the English tourists for 179 in 61 overs after trailing by 51 runs on the first innings.

"Not sure if it has sunk in yet with the whole emotion of the Ashes Test match, it's still riding pretty high," Lyon told reporters.

"I am pretty proud of the achievement today. It hasn't really sunk in yet. It's fantastic and amazing to be honest.

"It seemed like a long way away when I first started but lucky enough to get there (100 Test wickets) and no one can take them off me."

Although Lyon has Test best figures of seven for 94 against India in Delhi and five for 34 in Sri Lanka, it is the first time he has taken five wickets in an innings in a Test in Australia.

"That's the first time in Australia so it was something pretty special and something I won't forget, that's for sure. And to have my family here it's something pretty special as well," he said.

Lyon said he was proud to have played an influential role in turning around the Melbourne Test after Australia began the third day trailing England by 91 runs with one first innings wicket in hand.

"Personally to have that result in the second innings for Australia is fantastic to turn the game around," he said.

"We didn't expect that, but we knew if we bowled in partnerships and kept on improving as a bowling unit then we knew that we could possibly crack open the game."

Lyon, playing in his 29th Test match, has constantly had to justify his place in the team but now has taken 16 wickets and second only to Mitchell Johnson's 31 victims in the Ashes series against England. He now has 101 Test career wickets.

"I'm pretty happy. It's always a challenge playing Test match cricket and to being in and out of the side is a massive challenge," he said.

"But I'm lucky enough to have a great captain and an awesome vice-captain as well. I've got a really good relationship with both of them and to have their support has been fantastic.

"I knew what I had to do and I knew if I kept trying to get better and just really enjoy my cricket and just wanting to improve. If I keep doing that, hopefully things will keep rolling along well for me."

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