Tuesday, November 29News That Matters

Lyon aims to 'end careers' of England players

Mitchell Johnson
Australia v England, first Ashes Test
Date: 23-27 November Time: 00:00 GMT Venue: Gabba, Brisbane
Coverage: Ball-by-ball Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, Radio 4 LW and the BBC Sport website. Live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app. Full coverage

Off-spinner Nathan Lyon hopes Australia can “end the careers” of some England players during the Ashes series.

Graeme Swann retired in the midst of England’s 5-0 defeat in 2013-14, Kevin Pietersen was discarded after the series, and Jonathan Trott and Matt Prior hardly played again.

“Being part of that squad, seeing Mitchell Johnson scare them, was unbelievable,” said Lyon.

“We knew that they were broken. Hopefully we can recreate history.”

The first Ashes Test starts in Brisbane on Thursday.

And, on a day when Josh Hazlewood said Australia want to “open scars” in the England team, and the tourists’ James Vince claimed the hosts are putting themselves under pressure, Lyon also said:

  • He wants to get England captain Joe Root dropped
  • All of the England team were scared in 2013-14, and Prior wanted to go home – a claim the former wicketkeeper has described as “laughable”
  • Hazlewood is the best bowler in the world
  • Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins are bowling more quickly than Johnson
  • England have no chance of winning, even if Ben Stokes plays a part in the series

Prior laughs off Lyon jibe

Four years ago, England arrived as the Ashes holders but were decimated by Johnson, who took 37 wickets in the series.

Lyon, one of only three of the current Australia side who played in 2013-14, said “one to 11” of England’s team were afraid of the left-armer’s bowling.

“I was standing at leg slip and I nearly had to push a couple of guys back towards the stumps,” added the 30-year-old.

“Matt Prior wanted to fly home before the third Test in Perth and he was one of their senior players. He was scared. It was four years ago. I think he’s all right now.”

Wicketkeeper Prior was dropped after that match and only played four more Tests.

The former Sussex player said: “I have no idea where this has come from. It is wholeheartedly untrue. It is completely ridiculous and all I can do is laugh.

“I think Nathan Lyon has got other things to worry about without thinking about me. I hope the first Test goes really well for him because otherwise I’d suggest he’s concentrating on the wrong things.

“I will be watching with interest to see how he goes. I hope he lets his cricket do the talking now.”

Matt Prior during 2013-14 Ashes tour

Lyon wants to get Root dropped

England skipper Root, then on his first tour of Australia, was left out of the final Test in Sydney in January 2014 after averaging 27 with the bat.

Lyon, who played club cricket with the Yorkshireman in Adelaide, said: “It would be good to get him dropped again.

“There’s a lot of scars for the English guys, especially coming over here and now we have two 90mph bowlers in Starc and Cummins, not just one.”

Starc, Cummins and Hazlewood will form a three-man pace attack, supported by Lyon’s spin.

While Starc and Cummins both bring express pace, Lyon said the skills of Hazlewood make him even more dangerous.

“He can swing the new ball in and out, he can seam it, he can bowl fast, he can bowl a nice bouncer, he can reverse an old ball,” said Lyon, who has played 69 Tests.

“His consistency, the pace he bowls at and the way he controls the game is incredible. In my book he’s the number one bowler in the world.”

Lyon believes Starc and Cummins can have the same impact as Johnson.

“I won’t get into the nets to face them because they are way too quick for my liking,” said Lyon.

“They are definitely bowling quicker in the nets than Johnson did. I saw [captain] Steve Smith land on his backside the other day. Johnson didn’t do that.”

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‘England couldn’t even win the Ashes with Stokes’

England are without Stokes, who was arrested in September on suspicion of actual bodily harm following an incident outside a nightclub in Bristol.

The all-rounder remains in the UK awaiting the outcome of a police investigation.

“It’s a loss for international cricket,” said Lyon. “You want to play against the best players in the world and he’s probably the best all-rounder in the game.

“They have got some classy players, like Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes, who can stand in, but I don’t even think England can win the Ashes with Stokes.

“If I thought that, I might as well walk away now.”

For England’s part, Root said last week that some of the Australia players were “talking a load of rubbish”.

At the Gabba on Monday, batsman Dawid Malan said: “We as an England team are going about our business quite quietly and letting the Aussies do the talking.

“If they want to make comments then they have to back it up. We are just going to stick to what we do and see what happens at the end of five Tests.”

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