Experienced Australian off-spinner Nathan Lyon has stated that the hosts are confident of tackling the Rohit Sharma challenge in the last two Tests of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
Rohit Sharma joined the Indian squad a few days ago, having completed his quarantine. At a virtual press conference, Nathan Lyon said that Rohit Sharma looks set to make it to the Indian playing XI for Sydney, but he is curious to know whom he would replace. Lyon added:
"Obviously, Rohit Sharma is one of the best players going around so it's going to be a tough challenge for the bowlers, he is a big influencer for the Indian side so it would be interesting to see who they leave out but we will have our plans ready for Rohit, hopefully, we will get top of him nice and early."
Rohit Sharma has been named the vice-captain for the last two Tests against Australia, taking over from Cheteshwar Pujara. He is either likely to open the innings in place of the struggling Mayank Agarwal or could bat in the middle-order, replacing Hanuma Vihari.
Rohit Sharma averages only 31 in Australia from five Tests, so he has a point to prove when he goes out to bat.
Nathan Lyon all praise for Rahane and Ashwin
India recovered from the Adelaide humiliation to clinch a famous win in the Boxing Day Test. The victory was inspired by a classy hundred from stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane. Praising Rahane, Nathan Lyon said:
"Rahane is a world-class batter which obviously helps with everything, his patience he shows at the crease, he doesn't give away much, he doesn't bide into any sledging or any conversation out there in the middle, he is very calm and collective, it's a few different things he offers, he is standing up at the moment being the leader, hopefully, we will have some plans for him come the SCG Test.”
The 33-year-old is also hopeful that Australia can tackle the Ravichandran Ashwin problem. The off-spinner has dismissed Steve Smith cheaply twice in the series, once caught at slip and then at leg-slip. On Ashwin, Nathan Lyon added:
"Ashwin is bowling very well, he is a world-class bowler, I have said that throughout my whole career, he has bowled quite a straight line to our batters for which they haven't been able to come up with a plan yet, so fingers crossed they will come up with one and counter-act against Ashwin's plan.”
Nathan Lyon is also expecting David Warner, who is recovering from injury, to be available for the last two Tests against India. He said:
"David is an X-factor, he is a world-class batter, I am 100 per cent expecting David to go out there and do well in the remaining two Tests against India, I am looking forward to seeing David back at the top-order for us."
Nathan Lyon goes into the Sydney contest needing six wickets to complete 400 Test scalps.
The third Test between India and Australia starts on January 7. The match will be played with 25 percent crowd capacity amid rising COVID cases in the city.Published 04 Jan 2021, 09:56 IST