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‘Can someone please smack Lyon?’ – KP urges England to attack ‘off-spinner with zero variations’

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Kevin Pietersen has suggested that England’s batters should be more attacking while facing Nathan Lyon.

Australia off-spinner Lyon found turn and bounce to trouble England’s batters on the third day of the Test match, but Pietersen took to Twitter to plead for some urgency against a bowler with more than 400 Test wickets to his name.

Pietersen said: “Can SOMEONE please smack Lyon?!?!! FFS! Off spinner with zero variations and bowling on world crickets flattest road!!!!”


Lyon was economical in the first Test at the Gabba, conceding at 2.33 runs an over in the first innings, before ending with figures of 34-5-91-4 in the second.

This is not the first time that the England batter has urged the team to adopt a more aggressive approach against Lyon. During the 2017/18 Ashes, he had said, “Nathan Lyon shouldn’t bowl 24 overs for 40 runs on day 1 of a Test match. I would have preferred Lyon’s figures to be 3-70, 3-80 on day 1 of a Test match, not 0-40.”

However, later during the same series, Pietersen went on to lavish praise on the Aussie, calling him “pretty special.”

“Lyon, with what he’s doing to all the left-handers, he’s gone to a new level. His finger spin is something pretty special. He’s surprised, everyone. One of the commentators said, ‘I want to go and ask him how come he’s become so good,” he said. “His control, his spin, is just phenomenal, it really is. I’m super impressed with what he’s done.”

Pietersen came in for some stick for his plan, responding to news.com.au sports reporter Nic Savage, who pointed out that Lyon had had more success against Pietersen than all but a select few spinners in Test cricket.

“How did he get me out? Situation of the game & how many runs did I have?” Pietersen tweeted. “How many 6s and 4s did I hit off him? Did I EVER get bogged down by his bowling?! Context!!!!!”

One of Pietersen’s most infamous dismissals came attacking Lyon, caught at long on at Perth in the second innings of the third Test of the 2013/14 Ashes series, contributing to England losing the series with two games to play.

Ricky Ponting, speaking on Channel 7, made note of Pietersen’s comments as Lyon continued to find success. “I wonder if Kev is still watching?” he said. “The GOAT’s got another one. This is off-spin bowling of the highest class.”

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