Nathan Lyon has opened up about just how crushed he was in the aftermath of Australia’s Ashes loss to England in the third Test at Headingley in 2019.
England scraped a victory in one of the all-time great Ashes battles, with Ben Stokes hauling the team across the line alongside tail-ender Jack Leach.
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Australian spinner Lyon was involved in several key moments late in the game, bowling a delivery that should have claimed the wicket of Stokes in the dying overs, as well as fumbling a run-out one ball earlier.
In an interview with the Unplayable podcast, Lyon said knowing those crucial errors had been seen by such a massive worldwide audience was a tough experience to go through.
“The thing is we all make mistakes, the big difference is 25 million people or more were watching my mistake over and over and over. It wasn’t pleasing,” he said.
Convinced he had Stokes plumb LBW the ball after his run-out fumble, the crowd favourite was left to rue a failed challenge on a Pat Cummins delivery a short time earlier.
““I‘ve never appealed so much to end up on my back and end up on the middle of the wicket. I could not believe it. It just looked completely dead,” he said.
“I’ve got him a couple of times before (LBW) and I just remember in my head saying, ’That’s dead, that’s dead’ and (umpire Joel Wilson) just stood there like a statue.
“Whether he panicked or whatnot, I haven’t seen Joel since. He didn’t get a Christmas card last year.”
Nathan Lyon’s difficulty in accepting Ashes loss
Lyon said he took the Headingly loss to heart, saying it was the hardest he had taken any defeat throughout his career.
The veteran spinner said it wasn’t until he received a message from former Test captain Steve Waugh, who was working with the team in a mentoring capacity, that he was able to move on from the loss.
“I left the changeroom. I went and sat in the fire exit. I just needed to get away and had a towel over my head for the next half an hour,” he said.
“It was pretty hard personally after that game. That was probably the hardest that I‘ve been hit in a losing cricket game. Personally, it was pretty tough.
“I had a message on my phone from Steve Waugh saying, ‘You don’t know how lucky you are. You’re going to make tens of thousands of dollars going around doing guest speaking all around England after dropping that run-out’.
“I think we played in one of the best Test matches to ever be played, so that’s one positive out of it and the other one, you’ve got to take your hat off and say ’Well played, Ben Stokes’.”