Australian offspinner Nathan Lyon has absolutely bamboozled his Test captain Tim Paine in a Sheffield Shield draw between New South Wales and Tasmania at the SCG.
Lyon, making his first appearance in the Australian summer, threatened to spin NSW to victory after sporting declarations by captains Peter Nevill and George Bailey provided a contest.
Australia’s most prolific Test offspinner finished with figures of 4-88, having grabbed 4-30 and bamboozled Paine while igniting a late collapse.
Tasmania were 5-248 chasing 350, but with 14 overs left in the day their minds had turned to saving the match.
Lyon made that more difficult, however, when he dismissed Paine for just one run off eight balls.
On a delivery that landed on middle and leg, the ball snuck through the legs of a mystified Paine to crash into middle stump and send the bails flying.
“It’s always good to get one over the (Test) captain, isn’t it? Nah, I was a bit lucky it went through his legs,” Lyon said.
“The pitch provided a decent challenge … (there was) nothing to work with. But obviously it was under covers for a whole day … we can’t control the weather.”
Tasmania lost one more wicket but would hold on, finishing 7-264 after Beau Webster and Jackson Bird batted out 11.1 overs.
Nevill had stationed every fielder around the bat while Lyon and Steve O’Keefe were bowling.
NSW’s push for victory met stubborn resistance in Alex Doolan, who extended his bright start to the season with a knock of 90, and Webster, who finished 80 not out.
The hosts claimed a single wicket in each of the first two sessions before Lyon, bowling on a slow pitch that offered little assistance, busted the game open with a trademark diving caught-and-bowled effort to dismiss Jake Doran.
Dropped from Australia’s ODI squad and asked to focus on his red-ball bowling by national selectors, Lyon had toiled for 40 overs in the match before snagging his first wicket.
He removed Bailey and Paine with pinpoint deliveries before Tom Rogers was out edging for a duck.
“(Lyon’s) game is at a level now where it doesn’t matter what surface he bowls on, he’s a challenge,” Bailey said.
“We knew how we played him was going to be one of the factors in whether we chased the runs down.”
The contest gave Lyon and Paine a chance to readjust to local conditions as they start tuning up for a four-Test series against India that begins on December 6.
Paine, who helped Australia salvage a draw in Dubai last month alongside Lyon, didn’t bat in Tasmania’s first innings.
He was in the field for 148.4 overs, most of them spent watching teenagers Jack Edwards and Jason Sangha compile their maiden Shield tons.
Rain ruined day three of the contest, with only 4.3 overs of play possible, but Bailey and Nevill were desperate to avoid a dull draw.
Tasmania declared overnight at 4-115, handing the Blues a first-innings lead of 327 runs.
Nevill returned the favour, stopping NSW’s second innings at 1-22 after four overs.
“Disappointed about the result … but it was absolutely brilliant for Shield cricket to have the double declaration. All credit goes to George for teeing that up with Nev,” Lyon said.