Australia skipper Tim Paine is backing Nathan Lyon to get the better of Ben Stokes in the remainder of the Ashes series despite the off-spinner coming on the receiving end of some heavy punishment from the England all-rounder at Headingley.
Lyon was taken to the cleaners by a rampant Stokes in the second innings at Leeds with the Aussie off-spinner also being guilty of fluffing a straightforward run-out opportunity against Jack Leach before England dramatically stole a one-wicket win to level the series at 1-1.
However, Lyon did have his moments against Stokes with David Warner shelling a chance at slip early into the Englishman’s innings while a lbw appeal in the dying stages of the Test was incorrectly turned down by umpire Joel Wilson.
The England star all-rounder had been given similar reprieves by Australia’s fielders while facing Lyon in the second innings of the Lord’s Test before he went on to register an unbeaten ton in the drawn clash.
Paine believes Lyon can gain the upper hand over Stokes again if Australia can back the off-spinner sufficiently while also making better use of the Decision Review System (DRS).
If you thought it was chaos in the middle during Nathan Lyon's disastrous fumble, listen to what it was like in the commentary box!— ABC Grandstand (@abcgrandstand) August 26, 2019
Pure unbridled, unfiltered emotion from @Aggerscricket, @glennmcgrath11 and those screams in the background came from Sir Alastair Cook! #Ashes pic.twitter.com/YSY5Iretwx
“In the last two Test matches alone, Nathan Lyon has got him out six or seven times,” Paine told Australian radio station SEN.
“We’ve either dropped him or the lbw has been given not out and we haven’t referred them. Lyon has always had some success against him, we’ve just got to back him up and grab those chances or learn how to use the DRS a little better
“(Stokes) has had a way of putting us under pressure and forcing bowlers to go away (from their plans) or for me to change fields. That’s because of the pressure he puts you under and the skill he’s got.”
Paine came agonisingly close to becoming the first Australia skipper since 2001 to retain the Ashes urn in England before Stokes’ masterclass at Headingley but the wicketkeeper batsman remains confident he can finish the job in the upcoming two Tests.
“Yes, it wasn’t our finest moment in that last hour … but we’ve played some fantastic cricket in the first three Test matches,” he said.
“If we can continue to do what we’ve been doing for a little bit longer, we’ll have that Ashes urn back in Australia. I’ve been really proud of the way the group’s handled it, both the playing group and our staff.
“Losses like that can wear groups down and break groups apart, but I’ve been really proud of the way the boys have stuck together and how we’ve moved on quickly.”
The fourth and penultimate Ashes Test between England and Australia is slated to get underway at Old Trafford on September 4.
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