Tag: Nathan Lyon

Breaking down David Warner and Nathan Lyon’s run-out of AB de Villiers – one of the most disrespectful dismissals in recent memory

AB de Villiers (all images via Sky Sports video)

Many things happened during Australia’s first Test win over South Africa. Some of them were cricket, some of them were David Warner falling out with people. The thing that interests us the most – AB de Villiers’ second innings run-out – fell somewhere in between.

Let’s break the moment down, because it’s really quite something. We’re struggling to think of a more disrespectful dismissal.

The context

The South Africans were near enough 200 runs behind on first innings and had then found themselves chasing 417 to win.

They quickly fell to 39-3 and so had basically lost. You wouldn’t think there was much left to get het-up about at this point, but then you’re not David Warner.

David Warner is, you suspect, the kind of man who snaps the remote in half in fury when the batteries start to get a bit low.

The run-out

Nathan Lyon dobbed one down the leg-side and South Africa opener Aiden Markram nurdled the ball towards David Warner.

As Warner scuttled round to get it, AB de Villiers set off down the pitch before doing a big U-turn when he looked up and saw only Markram’s back.

Sadly for de Villiers, he’d gone sufficiently far that the run-out was never in doubt. Warner was grinning even as he threw the ball.

At the bowler’s end, Lyon enveloped the ball with his Mekon hands and duly broke the stumps.

Nathan Lyon’s bit

What we didn’t mention was that AB de Villiers was on nought, having only faced one ball. Now here he was lying on his face, run-out in a match his team were about to lose.

Being run-out is always rubbish because to some extent it’s always self-inflicted. It’s worse still when you end up literally lying on your face in the dirt at the moment it happens.

Here’s AB de Villiers literally lying on his face in the dirt having been run out for a duck in a match his team is about to lose.

What happened next was that Nathan Lyon saw AB de Villiers literally lying on his face in the dirt having been run out for a duck in a match his team is about to lose and thought to himself: “This isn’t quite humiliating enough. I think I need to ramp this up a bit. I need to really emphasise the fact that AB de Villiers is literally lying on his face in the dirt having been run out for a duck in a match his team is about to lose.”

So Lyon ran past, looking down at him, and to emphasise that de Villiers was both literally and metaphorically fallen, he dropped the ball near him.

You’ll note that we italicised ‘nearly’ in that last sentence. As you can see, Lyon is looking directly at de Villiers even having passed him and is dropping/flinging the ball as he does so. You could maybe, if you so chose, argue that he dropped the ball at de Villiers.

David Warner’s bit

Lyon could not have executed his run-out and ball-drop without the assistance of David Warner. Warner too was hugely keen to emphasise the fact that his team was winning the Test match.

Presumably feeling that the surviving batsman had escaped lightly, he chose to convey his team’s supremacy to Aiden Markram.

Australia wicketkeeper Tim Paine said at stumps that there “wasn’t too much aggression” during Warner’s send-off (which technically wasn’t actually a send-off because Markram wasn’t going anywhere).

Here is Warner’s Hatred Face midway through said send-off. We’re pretty sure we have never been this angry with anyone about anything in our entire life.

Now we want you to understand something at this point because it doesn’t really come across in stills. Warner is aiming this face AT Aiden Markram. Aiden Markram is the subject of the hatred.

All of Warner’s team-mates came and mobbed him for doing the run-out throw and yet he physically struggled with them to ensure he retained a direct line of sight to Markram.

A direct line of sight to Markram was important to Warner because he didn’t want there to be any miscommunciation about just how much he hated him

It doesn’t really need stating explicitly, but obviously as well as making the face, Warner was  saying things at Markram.

And yes, ‘at’ is the right word here. David Warner was most definitely not saying things to Aiden Markram; he was saying them at him.

The Waca blunts Australia’s best bowler

Nathan Lyon to Alastair Cook (BT Sport)

The most significant question ahead of the Waca’s final appearance as an Ashes venue was not whether or not it would recover the pace of old – because it clearly wouldn’t – it was whether or not the ball would turn.

The Waca is Australia’s most over-hyped pitch and the pace of the home attack is its most over-hyped quality. Nathan Lyon is the man. Spin is what’s shaping this series.

England have left-handers at one, two, five and seven and Lyon has been hoovering up their wickets with ease. The tourists’ best hope has been that the dust of their demises might eventually clog his filters.

The bad news for England

Lyon might have struggled to make much impact, but so did everyone else. With the old ball, in particular, nothing happened. The Kookaburra’s behaviour became as unremarkable and predictable as the Nullarbor Plain that keeps Perth safely detached from the rest of Australia.

Wickets don’t look easy to come by and there was no obvious theme to the dismissals. Cook was near-yorked, Joe Root suffered legside strangulation (it’s not unlucky – either middle it or leave it) while Mark Stoneman gloved a lifter.

You can guess what happened to James Vince.

Causing dismissal by careless driving

According to Cricinfo, James Vince’s unbreakable addiction to nicking the ball behind has to be weighed against the fact that he scores 37 per cent of his runs through the covers. We disagree. All this statistic says to us is that Vince is a compulsive driver who will keep on lashing out at deliveries outside off stump until he’s invited to leave the field of play by the umpire’s raised finger.

Responsible driving

Dawid Malan is the man no-one particularly wanted to see picked in the first place but he’s also the man no-one has since wanted to drop.

Like Vince, he hit a few nice drives. But then, just as crucially, sometimes he didn’t.

Pace and sustained pace – Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins are half an attack

The Ashes at the MCG (CC licensed by Drew Douglas via Flickr)

As the pre-Ashes war of words hits a dizzying peak of meaninglessness, it’s worth reflecting on something said long after a previous series had finished.

Reflecting on the team’s modus operandi during The Mitchell Johnson Ashes, Peter Siddle said: “The key stat for us is maidens. The more maidens you bowl, the more pressure builds, and obviously the more back-to-back maidens you can bowl – that plays a massive part. Then they’re looking for that quick single or pushing at one they normally wouldn’t because they want to get off strike.”

As we observed in the linked article, some aspects of a team’s ‘brand of cricket’ will always command more attention, even if other aspects may be equally important.

Same again this time around. Australia are apparently fielding a ‘fearsome’ pace attack that may well blow England away but may also find itself blowing in the red-faced, hands-on-knees, rasping lungs, leaden legs sense.

Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins are ‘strike bowlers,’ which sounds really scary until you remember that it basically just means that they get tired quite quickly. This isn’t always such a problem, but when you only field four bowlers, it certainly can be – and even if some of England’s specialists leave something to be desired, they do still have a long batting line-up.

Will Starc and Cummins still be ‘taking the pitch out of the equation’ in the evening session or will they be bowling at the same pace as England’s fourth seamer by then?

It’s evident that Australia will be looking to Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon to bowl plenty of overs. When it comes to shouldering workload, this is Plan A and they have no Plan B unless Steve Smith’s going to bring his flapping chicken dance bowling action out of semi-retirement. (Here’s hoping.)

England will be aware of this and they will know that their batsmen have three very obvious options.

  1. Preserve wickets and force Starc and Cummins to come back for more and more spells
  2. Hit Nathan Lyon out of the attack and force Starc and Cummins to come back for more and more spells
  3. Get out and lose the Test match

Presumably they’ll be looking to go for one of the first two. We’ve no idea which is the better option, but the decision might shape the first Test.

Nathan Lyon transforms into Australia’s Steve O’Keefe

Or at least it could be seen that way if Australia didn’t already have a Steve O’Keefe. Nathan Lyon still bowled like one though.

You know that classic Steve O’Keefe thing; the one where you go to India and spin them out for under 200? Lyon did that. You know this already because you pay attention to these things.

India seem like a team in need of a change. It feels like they’ve been playing home Test matches on an almost weekly basis since about October.

They’re usually good at it, but in an effort to mix things up a bit, they’ve now decided to be bad it. Perhaps it’s the only way they can quench their thirst for change.

Bit embarrassing though. Australia are to all intents and purposes one good innings away from securing the series. Australia!


Rangana Herath is embraced by a grateful planet

You’ve got to hand it to us, we can call matches incorrectly with the worst of them. Almost as if they were goaded into it, Sri Lanka have done everything in their power to make our assessment of them the day before yesterday seem almost criminally inaccurate.

We called them insipid. They recovered from being five wickets down in their second innings and still near enough 100 behind to set India 176 to win. The turnaround began at almost exactly the moment we accused them of ’embarking on a second round of divdom’.

We said that Rangana Herath appeared to have lost the ability to take wickets and lead the attack. He has just taken 7-48 to bowl India out for 112 to win the Test.

The murderous capybara is back and we can again comfort ourselves with the thought that Planet Earth wouldn’t have to consider selecting Nathan Lyon – which is just as well as with his misshapen Mekon head, he’s clearly a Treen sleeper agent.

Australia’s spin bowlers for the 2013 Ashes

Australia’s spinners are both better and worse than people seem to think. Let’s first be clear that, as it stands, neither Fawad Ahmed nor Ashton Agar are actually in the squad. Furthermore, both benefit from being to a large extent unknown and untested. In a barren land, the distant man who promises innovative irrigation techniques is king.

There’s lots of talk about what Ahmed might be capable of doing, but that’s radically different from what he WILL do. A grand total of 15 first-class matches means plenty is hidden, but quite why people assume that all those unknowns will be positive is beyond us. If he’s a mystery card that Australia are cannily holding back, returns for Australia A of 1-65 against Ireland and 1-100 against Gloucestershire imply that he’s something like the six of clubs.

Let’s instead look at actual squad member, Nathan Lyon, who is the latest Australian citizen to have made the mistake of failing to be Shane Warne. You know what? He’s actually not bad.

Lyon has taken a respectable number of wickets in pretty much every series he’s played and he’s generally had a proper haul at some point or other during each as well:

  • 5-34 against Sri Lanka in Galle
  • 4-69 against New Zealand in Brisbane
  • 4-63 against India in Adelaide
  • 5-68 against the Windies in Port of Spain
  • 7-94 against India in Delhi

The seven wickets against India came in his last Test match, incidentally. For a 25-year-old off-spinner, this is really pretty good and all the talk of mystery spin from a distant land might be rather missing the point.

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