Former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting believes Nathan Lyon’s effort to get rid-off James Vince on the first day of the ongoing game can play a decisive role in the series-opener at the Gabba, Brisbane.
After Mitchell Starc gave the hosts a flying start by sending back Alastair Cook on just two, Mark Stoneman and Vince set the tone for the visitors by stitching together a brilliant 125-run stand before Pat Cummins dismissed the former.
However, with Vince going great guns, England was still firmly on the driver’s seat before a brilliant piece of fielding from Lyon at the covers helped the hosts to see Vince’s back against the run of play.
Lyon, who was standing at point, came charging in when Vince pushed one towards the cover and set for a single straight away. However, before he could get to the non-striker’s end, Lyon shattered the stumps with a brilliant throw to remove the right-hander for 83.
Heaping praise on Lyon for the stunning piece of fielding, Ponting said it can not only change the course of the game but can also ‘determine the whole series’.
“That’s the sort of moment in Test matches that can determine the whole series,” Ponting told cricket.com.au.
“The boys work hard on their fielding for moments that might pop up like that, and Nathan Lyon grabbed one today. It was a terrific piece of work, and it could be a defining moment in this game,” he added.
Ponting, who is regarded highly for his fielding as much as for his batting, spoke on Lyon’s approach, saying the throw from the off-spinner was technically flawless.
“They had a mid-off and a point only, so what I used to do in that situation (fielding at the point) was start walking towards the middle of the pitch so I would create an angle like there was an actual cover fielder in there,” he said.
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“(Lyon) was actually on the move when the ball was hit. He got a good bounce as well, and that’s the other big part about fielding in the covers; you need the ball to bounce in a certain area. It bounced up nice and low (and) he was in a good balanced throwing position.
“And when you’re on the move … if you think about where the momentum is going … you can’t start (your throw) on the stumps, you have to start it to the left-hand side of the stumps and momentum takes the ball towards the stump. You do that literally thousands of times every day at training for an opportunity like that to pop up, so he enjoyed that,” he further said.
England finished the day on 196 for four with Pat Cummins bringing the hosts back in the game by dismissing the dangerous Joe Root for just 15. Dawid Malan and Moeen Ali were out in the middle when the day ended.
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