Nathan Lyon caught in brutal sledge for under-fire England opener

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·Sports Editor
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Nathan Lyon, pictured here hitting Rory Burns with a typically sarcastic sledge during the second Ashes Test.
Nathan Lyon hit Rory Burns with a typically sarcastic sledge during the second Ashes Test. Image: Fox Sports

Nathan Lyon was at his brutal best both with the ball and without it during day four of the second Ashes Test at the Adelaide Oval.

A double-strike from comeback quick Jhye Richardson and late blows from Mitchell Starc put Australia on the verge of victory on Sunday.

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Set a world record target of 468 runs to win, England went to stumps at 4-82 after another insipid batting display.

Richardson, in his first Test since February 2019, removed openers Haseeb Hameed (0) and Rory Burns (34), while debutant Michael Neser dismissed Dawid Malan for 20.

While Burns' score was his highest in some time, he still looked very scratchy.

And Aussie spinner Lyon was all too happy to let him know.

After Burns narrowly escaped when he popped the ball up on the off-side and scampered through for a lucky single, stump microphones caught Lyon sharing a few cheeky words with the England opener.

“Rory, you’re playing me really well,” Lyon said sarcastically.

“I wouldn’t change a thing to be honest.”

Burns just looked on and smirked, probably realising that Lyon was taking the mickey out of him.

It wasn't long after that the struggling opener was out after edging a Richardson delivery to Steve Smith at second slip.

Rory Burns, pictured here walking off after edging to Steve Smith in the second Ashes Test.
Rory Burns walks off after edging to Steve Smith in the second Ashes Test. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Nathan Lyon the Day 5 danger man for Australia

Speaking after stumps, Travis Head warned England they should never feel properly in against Lyon on day five.

England face a mighty task to save the second Test, needing to bat out all of Monday with just six wickets to force a draw.

With 43.2 overs already bowled and Joe Root out, England would need to become just the sixth side this century to bat out 134 overs in a fourth-innings to force a draw.

And the tourists' task is made no easier by a wicket that has already shown plenty of bite and turn throughout the game.

Lyon was once criticised for his inability to spin Australia to fourth-innings wins, but he has made the job his own at the Adelaide Oval over the years.

He took a five-wicket haul against Pakistan two summers ago to take Australia to a big win, and did likewise on the ground against India in 2014-15.

Another two wickets will also see him draw level with Shane Warne for the all-time leading wicket-taker on the ground, with 56.

"Having played Shield cricket against him here, you can feel like you're in," Head said.

"They might look comfortable, and there was a big period where Gaz might not feel like he's in the game.

"The ball is spinning consistently past the bat. When is the opportunity going to come?

"And then once that does come, it sort of opens it up.

"We know we can hold sustained pressure with Gaz, that he is going to create opportunities."

A loss for England would be near-fatal for their hopes of regaining the Ashes, given only Australia's team in 1936-37 has come back from 2-0 down to win a five-Test series.

with AAP

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