‘Massive headache for selectors’ – Lyon lauds in-form Australia ahead of CWC19

Written by N Krishnamurthy

Nathan Lyon, the Australia off-spinner, said the national selectors would have a “great problem” in picking the squad for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 after his side beat Pakistan emphatically in the second one-day international in Sharjah.

The eight-wicket victory on Sunday, 24 March, gave Australia a 2-0 lead in the five-match series, and pleasingly for the visitors, their players are hitting form at the right time. The architect of the win was a resurgent Aaron Finch, the captain, who recorded a second consecutive century to take Australia past the finish-line with 2.1 overs to spare. Usman Khawaja, his opening partner, was excellent in the supporting role, adding a 109-ball 88 in a first-wicket stand of 209.

Elsewhere, David Warner, whose one-year suspension lapses on 29 March, lit up the Indian Premier League with a 53-ball 85 for Sunrisers Hyderabad. And it all meant Lyon was beaming with confidence. “I was just told that Dave scored 85,” he said. “I really hope he has a fantastic IPL.

“That’s just going to cause a massive headache for our selectors heading into the World Cup. It’s a great problem to have for Australia. The guys in our dressing room, and with Steve Smith and David Warner coming back – they’re world-class players – we have enough to be adaptable to whatever conditions and scenarios are thrown at us. The guys worked their backside off, firstly, and are now getting the rewards in the middle.”

It was the form of Finch, however, that pleased Lyon the most. The Australia captain had gone 12 ODIs without a century, but has now notched up back-to-back tons. “Hats off to him, he has been working his backside off,” praised Lyon.

“He hasn’t had the runs over the summer that he would like. But he is been working hard with Graeme Hick and Justin Langer. A lot of credit has to go to Finch but also JL and Hicky deserve a pat on the back. It is probably the most controlled innings I’ve seen him play in a long time.”

The third ODI will be in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

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N Krishnamurthy